Apple said it expects $34 billion to $37 billion in revenue for its fourth quarter with gross margins of 36% to 37%. Piecyk says they would need to debut new products to reach that guidance.
“We don’t think that Apple can hit its newly issued revenue guidance for the September quarter unless it launches new products,” Piecyk said in a note to clients. “After delivering $35 billion in revenue in the June quarter, management guided to $34-$37 billion next quarter. Revenue would more typically drop multiple billions if the company had no new products planned.”
Notably, Piecyk thinks to reach that target Apple would need to launch an iPhone rather than a new iPad.
“The margin guidance also likely indicates that the new product launch this quarter will be an iPhone and not a lower margin iPad. While new iPhones are lower margin at launch, they are still higher margin than iPads.”
Notably, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty put forth a similar prediction.
Several signs suggest that new products will ship in the September quarter.
● Apple provided less transparency into gross margin influences for the September quarter, seemingly to avoid pre-announcing new products.
● Apple provided a wider than normal revenue guidance range of $3B, noting many moving parts in the September quarter.
● Apple continues to talk about a “busy fall” which coincides with suppliers ramping iPhone shipments in September and iPad shipments in October.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently predicted that Apple would launch the iPad 5 and a low cost iPhone in early September. He also predicted that the company would launch the iPhone 5S later the same month.