Live blog: Apple’s Q3 2014 earnings call

Apple Q3 Live blog earnings call

As we mentioned last month, Apple will today host its quarterly conference call to discuss its earnings report from the third quarter of its fiscal year: this includes 35.2 million iPhones, 13.2 million iPads, 2.9 million iPods, and 4.4 million Macs. Apple reported today that it earned $37.4 billion in revenue during its Q3 period.

This will be the first quarterly conference call with analysts and investors since Apple announced its plans to acquire Beats Electronics and Beats Music in a $3 billion deal that it expects to clear regulatory approval by the end of the current quarter in September. Today’s call also will be the first since Apple’s developer conference in June as well as Apple’s announced partnership with IBM to bolster the iPhone and iPad effort in the enterprise. It also marks Luca Maestri’s first call as CFO since Peter Oppenheimer’s retirement, although Maestri has been present on past calls.

Investors and analysts will surely focus on Apple’s new product plans for the remainder of this year, though, and we’ll be listening to bring you coverage starting at 5pm EST/ 2pm PST. Read more

Here’s what analysts expect Apple to announce today: revenue up 8.5 percent, earnings up 18 percent

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With Fortune having now filled in the blanks in its analyst roundup, above are the final numbers Wall Street expects Apple to announce at around 1.30pm PT/4.30pm ET this afternoon.

With all 34 analysts having revealed their predictions, the consensus view is for year-on-year revenue to have grown by 8.5 percent, with earnings up 18.1 percent …  Read more

Apple will beat its own top-end guidance when it announces Q3 results tomorrow, say analysts

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Fortune ran its usual poll of more than two dozen analysts, with the consensus view echoing earlier predictions that Apple will beat its revenue guidance of $36-38B by reporting $38.4B for its fiscal Q3 (calendar Q2). Gross margin is also expected to exceed Apple’s guidance of 37-38 percent, at 38.1 percent. This follows forecasts that iPhone sales would climb 15 percent year-on-year, while iPad sales will be flat.

Business Insider reports that Wall Street is once again expecting significant growth from AAPL.

46 Apple analysts rate the stock a buy, 13 call it a hold, and only 4 thinks it’s a sell. Citigroup, which was bearish on the stock, changed its analyst coverage and rated the stock a new “buy.” JMP securities upgraded the stock to outperform Monday morning. Other analysts have raised their price target …

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On average, analysts expect iPad sales to be flat, but no consensus

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Someone once said that if you put three analysts in a room and ask them a question, you’ll get four different opinions. This certainly appears to be the case today, with Fortune finding no more consensus on iPad sales than it did on iPhone numbers.

Asked to predict how many iPad sales Apple will announce in next week’s Q3 earnings announcement, the overall average suggested year-on-year sales would be flat at 14.35M. However, no consensus view emerged …  Read more

Opinion: Seven reasons why the IBM partnership could be a pretty big deal for Apple

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Wall Street seemed pretty unmoved by Apple’s announcement of its partnership with IBM, the pre-market share price barely twitching, and analysts pointing to the high level of existing iOS usage in the enterprise sector, suggesting that only trivial gains would result.

Part of the reason for that impression is the hype Apple has given to the penetration level of  iOS devices in enterprise. Back in January, Tim Cook described the numbers as “unbelieveable,” stating that the iPhone is used in 97 percent and of Fortune 500 companies and the iPad in 98 percent.

It doesn’t sound from these impressive figures that there’s much room for growth. But I think the reality is somewhat different …  Read more

Chinese state TV annoyed by NSA, takes it out on Apple

The WSJ reports that the state-run China Central TV has described the iPhone as a “national security concern” due to its location-tracking capabilities.

In its national noon broadcast, state-run China Central Television criticized the “frequent locations” function in Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating system, which tracks and records the time and location of the owner’s movements. The report quoted researchers who said that those with access to that data could gain knowledge of the broader situation in China or “even state secrets” …

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Wall Street ranks Apple world’s most respected company, analysts raise target share prices

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Barron’s reports that institutional investors have returned Apple to its number one slot in its annual ranking of the world’s most respected companies, after it was beaten last year by Berkshire Hathaway.

Apple topped this year’s ranking by scoring 3.94, giving it a wide margin of victory. Berkshire scored 3.58, and the mean was 2.37. Apple received the highest number of Highly Respect votes …

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AAPL climbs to #5 in Fortune 500 as gross revenues reached $170B

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Apple’s gross revenues of $170B were enough for the world’s most valuable company by market cap to climb one place in the Fortune 500 ranking, from 6th to 5th place.

Apple was placed behind Walmart, Exxon, Chevron and conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway (which owns large chunks of such well-known brands as Heinz, Coca-Cola, Mars and American Express). Phillips 66, General Motors, Ford Motor, General Electric and Valero Energy make up the rest of the top 10.

While Apple ranks fifth in terms of revenues, its huge cash reserves mean that it has tended to alternate with Exxon as the world’s most valuable company when measured by market capitalization, and is arguably significantly undervalued by most measures …  Read more

Opinion: It’s time to bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse, the MacBook Pro 17

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Many of us were deeply disappointed when Apple discontinued the MacBook Pro 17. While the Retina MacBook Pro 15 introduced at the same time offered higher resolution, sometimes there’s just no substitute for physical screen size. Photographers and videographers in particular loved the combination of the sheer size and the option of a matte screen.

I loved mine enough to immediately sell the three-year-old one I owned at the time in order to replace it with the last model made, to maximize its useful life. I still love it enough that I’ve just laid out a thousand bucks on a 2.5-year-old machine to fit 2TB of SSDs, giving it the best of both worlds: lightning-fast performance combined with huge storage that allows me to have all my files with me when I travel.

There may not be too many others who’ll follow my admittedly extravagant example, but I do think it’s time for Apple to revisit its decision and bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse …  Read more

Wall Street unimpressed by Beats acquisition: “Not what we want to see”

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Judging by a roundup in The Wall Street Journal, analysts and investors appear not to share the enthusiasm for Beats acquisition express by Tim Cook and Eddy Cue. While Cook said he was “excited [...] about this new chapter in our history” and Cue believed that “combining the two companies will help [music] grow again,” Wall Street is more skeptical.

“To see this kind of money spent for a company that gets most of its revenue from hardware business is not what we want to see,” said Dan Niles, chief investment officer of hedge fund AlphaOne Capital Partners …

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Opinion: Will Apple’s Smart Home concept bring home automation to the masses?

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It’s the 21st Century: weren’t we all supposed to be living in automated homes by now? Where we walk in the door after a long day to have our home playing some soothing music, informing us that it’s run us a bath and that dinner will be ready in 45 minutes? Where a robot has done the cleaning, changed the flowers, accepted a parcel that arrived while we were at work and fed the cat?

That dream seems to be a long time coming. I’m a reasonably techy guy who loves the idea of home automation, yet even I only have three examples in my home (which I’ll mention along the way). Most mass-market consumers haven’t even noticed that the products exist, and the few who have tend to view it all as too complicated or fiddly.

If anyone can change that perception, it’s Apple. Which is why the Financial Times report yesterday that Apple is working on a new approach to home automation that may be unveiled at WWDC next week caught my attention …  Read more