The earnings of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may be the most important of the season. It is not only the largest company by market cap, its growth has stayed phenomenal for a large company. And, with the number of products it sells to businesses and consumers, it is something of a proxy for the overall economy, particularly in the United States.
Earnings from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) offered some glimpse into iPhone 5 sales, although each said it ran out of supply and could have sold many more units in September. Apple management said that iPad sales reached 100 million this month. The overall tablet sector has shown no sign of a slowdown. Mac sales could be a problem as the overall personal computer market is in trouble, but the Mac is an increasingly smaller part of the company’s total sales.
The financial performance will be another test of how CEO Tim Cook is doing more than a year after the death of Steve Jobs, although it is assumed the many new products were in the pipeline before his death and therefore bear his fingerprints.
The other information that Wall St. will watch is guidance. Apple is usually conservative in this respect, but the critical holiday season is about to begin, and the expectations for Apple’s success with both a new iPhone and iPad in the field are unbelievably high.
Douglas A. McIntyre