Investors waiting for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to announce earnings expect iPhone 12 sales to have reached as many as 90 million last quarter, which would drive revenue of over $100 billion, a first for Apple. The so-called supercycle would have been the trigger. Apple iPhone 12 upgrades may match or pass that of any other iPhone version in history.
The expectation rests primarily with the rollout of 5G. It is the first new standard for wireless service in over a decade. Its speed is measured at about 20 times the current 4G standard. The wireless companies, particularly AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, have been vague about how quickly the rollout has happened or when most cities and suburbs will have it — let alone rural areas.
However, in many other nations where Apple does well, 5G rollouts are far along. In particular, China, the largest wireless market in the world, is in advanced stages. By some estimates, there are almost 800 million wireless users there, compared to 300 million in the United States.
One of Apple’s sharp advantages in the smartphone business is its margins. Several pieces of research show that while Apple may only have 15% to 20% of the global market share, its profits are 90% of the total. This means, of course, that some smartphone companies lose money on many models.
Another good piece of news for Apple is that the quarter it will announce soon may not have been its best. If the supercycle has not reached full force, the balance of the quarters this year could be home runs.
According to Barron’s, the optimism has Wall Street excited: “On Friday, Cowen analyst Krish Sankar repeated his Outperform rating on Apple shares, upping his price target to $153, from $133.” They currently trade near $144.