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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National Federation of the Blind says ‘Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company’

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Last week, inaccurate reporting emerged in regards to Apple’s work on making its products accessible to all consumers. As many Apple customers are aware, and as CEO Tim Cook takes extremely seriously, Apple works hard to ensure that Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads can be used to their full extent by people who are deaf or blind, for example. In response to the reporting (Philip Elmer-DeWitt has a good summary of the original reporting and takedowns at Fortune), Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has published a comprehensive blog post describing Apple’s work on accessibility, the technology industry as a whole, the resolution regarding iOS device accessibility, and what can be done to improve accessibility of third-party apps into the future.

The full blog post can be read here, but here is a key line that should further dispute last week’s inaccurate reports: “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises.” The blog post goes on to explain that the Federation believes Apple could work further with App Store developers on making all of the more than one million App Store apps more accessible to all users. “We simply want Apple to continue to discuss with us what measures the company can put in place to ensure accessibility,” the blog post reads.

It is also worth watching Cook’s speech regarding human rights and accessibility, below:

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Siri vs Google search in 1600-question street test, speed test

As noted by Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune, Apple analyst Gene Munster published a note to clients today that contained the results of a Siri vs. Google search 1600-question showdown.

While it is not exactly a test of how well the companies’ various voice services stack up against one another (since Google Search queries were typed-in and not spoken), but it is a good indication of just how viable Siri is as an everyday mobile search product and alternative to Google. In the test, both Google and Siri were asked 800 questions in a quiet location. Another 800 questions were asked among the loud street traffic in Minneapolis. The results, according to Fortune: Read more

Debunked: Apple is not acquiring Loewe, Foxconn CEO denies iTV rumors, Digitimes is ‘wrong most of the time’

Update May 16, 2012: German publication Handelsblatt (via Bloomberg) quoted Chief Executive Officer Oliver Seidl of German TV manufacturer Loewe as saying the company has had “no contact” with Apple regarding an acquisition.

Less than a month after posting a false claim about Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visiting the Valve HQ, ole’ Danny Dilger claimed this weekend that Apple is moving to acquire a German TV manufacturer called “Loewe.” Again, we did not run with the story, because we preferred to mock it instead via Twitter. Not only has that story been debunked, but more allegations about Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou having confirmed an Apple television are now being denied by the company. Oh, and Digitimes’ track record…

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Apple’s iOS chief Scott Forstall cashes in shares worth $38.7M

Following Apple’s CEO Tim Cook selling off approximately 20,000 shares of company stock in March, new filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission discovered by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt show iOS chief Scott Forstall recently sold 64,151 shares worth roughly $38.7 million:

The shares were the remains of a 120,000-share retention bonus that was granted in 2008, vested last month and reduced by 55,849 shares on March 24 to pay taxes. Forstall still holds 2,988 Apple shares worth, at Friday’s closing price, $1.8 million.

Many reported the over 64k shares sold by Forstall represent 95 percent of his current holdings in Apple Inc. However, that is not entirely true, because two new retention bonuses are coming his way in in the years ahead. Those shares could be worth over quarter billion dollars—if Apple continues increasing closer to the $1,000 per share target that many analysts are expecting.

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Apple to blow past HP and become top personal computer vendor on strong holiday sales of Macs, iPhones and iPads

Counting tablet PCs as personal computers, Apple is about to overtake Hewlett-Packard and become the world’s top personal computer vendor. All should be known soon when Apple reveals holiday quarter earnings in a conference call with analysts scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24.

HP CEO Meg Whitman was first to admit that such a turn of event neither would nor be entirely unsurprising given Apple’s lead in the post-PC world. Whitman said back in November, “It’s possible if you integrate tablets.” Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote that, based on a poll of 42 analysts, iPad sales could hit the 14 million mark, a notable increase over the 11.12 million iPads sold during the September quarter.

Fortune’s estimates range from 11.7 million (Hendi Susanto of Gabelli & Co) to 19.47 million iPads (Alexis Cabot of the Apple Finance Board). According to research firm Gartner, HP shipped 14.7 million PCs in the last quarter, down 16 percent from a year ago.

Now, Apple in this last quarter cleared 4.89 million Macs, and its holiday sales are estimated to exceed 5 million units. Combined, iPad and Mac will have sold over 20 million units during the holiday quarter, enough to give the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology powerhouse a few million units lead over HP, the world’s leading computer vendor.

Estimated unit sales translate into a 17.6-percent market share for Apple versus 13 percent for HP, representing a landmark achievement by any measure. Again, that’s assuming tablets are counted as personal computers. As noted by Asymco’s Horace Dediu, Apple has never held the top spot. Its Apple II system peaked at 15.8 -percent share in 1984 and the Mac peaked at 12 percent in 1992. Interesting that Lenovo CEO praised Apple last week, saying about Android on tablets that “We still need to learn something, we still need to improve something”.

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AAPL passes all-time high of $427 a share, market cap closes in on $400B

An interesting occurrence happened this morning: In a run up to Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings call, and amid a steady flow of 2012 Consumer Electronics Show announcements where Apple traditionally does not exhibit, the company’s share reached an all-time high by passing $427 a share for a market valuation of $398 billion (Exxon Mobile is at $408.86 billion). As noted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt, the company passed the $426.70 mark it hit briefly one day in mid-October

Interestingly, several analysts boosted their iPhone estimates for the December quarter. Goldman most notably upped their iPhone estimate to 31 million quarterly units, up from the previous 30.2 million estimate. Needham significantly increased their previous 28 million units projection to 32 million units.

By the way, the Apple iPhone turned 5-years-old today. On this very day five years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld Expo to announce the original iPhone. The rest, as the saying goes, is history…

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Market shifts: Samsung beats iPhone in sales, ZTE passes Apple in global cell phone volume

The third quarter of 2011 marks a shift in the cell phone biz as Samsung takes the smartphone crown from Apple and China’s ZTE rises to become the world’s fourth-largest cell phone vendor by volume and Apple slides to fifth place. The bad news for Cupertino arrives just as the company for the first time in years missed Street expectations after shipping 17.07 million iPhones in the September quarter, a modest 21 percent annual growth and a notable 16 percent quarterly decline in units. As you recall, Apple in the June quarter sold 20.34 million iPhones, allowing them to beat Nokia and Samsung and become the world’s leading smartphone vendor, prompting Samsung to stop divulging smartphone and tablet shipments for competitive reasons.

Everyone was waiting for the new iPhone 4S.

Samsung today posted their quarterly earnings and they passed iPhone by an estimated ten million units. According to Reuters which cited a Strategy Analytics survey, Samsung shipped about 27.8 million smartphones, up nearly four times annually and 44 percent sequentially. This gave Samsung a 23.8 percent global market share in smartphones vs. 14.8 percent for Apple. Such a strong growth is attributed to their Galaxy smartphones, particularly the Galaxy S II model which sold ten million units in the five months since its introduction. Strategy Analytics attributed Samsung’s success to “a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution”, adding:

After just one quarter in the top spot, Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position and captured 15 percent share. Apple’s global smartphone growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in Q3 2011, its lowest level for two years. We believe Apple’s growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries, and tougher competition from Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II model.

Apple also slid to fifth place in Strategy Analytics’s worldwide cell phone rankings as ZTE shipped 18.5 million handsets for a five percent global market share. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the October 4 iPhone 4S introduction that iPhone had five percent share of the global cell phone market, hinting at Apple’s phone strategy:


via Fortune

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Forrester relents: Recommends Macs for business because your boss wants one

IT managers’ thinking is influenced by a myriad of business factors, including research studies advising them not to adopt Apple’s computers. But their attitude is changing as Forrester Research, one of the most outspoken proponents of the Mac-free business environment, now backpedals on their 2008 report which called for a total banishment of Macs in the workplace – even for the most mundane tasks such as handling email.

According to the Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a new Forrester survey (available for sale on the corporate card here) of 590 IT managers, Mac users comprise “the 17 percent of information workers who use new technologies and find innovative ways to be more productive and serve customers more effectively”. Wow, talk about change in stance. But wait, there’s more. “Mac users are your HEROes and you should enable them not hinder them”, the report concludes, HEROes being a Forrester acronym for Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives.

Just like with iPhone, “Macs are being freewheeled into the office” by corporate higher-ups – typically executives, sales reps and other workaholics – who rely on MacBook Pro machines rather than Windows notebooks which “are slowing them down”:

Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don’t want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They’re drawn to uncluttered Macs — especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds.

That, and the looks…

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Early biography publication “not related to any decline” in Steve Jobs’s health (BONUS: front and back cover detailed)


Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Click for larger.

The official Steve Jobs biography, which is based on forty interviews and set for publication by Simon & Schuster November 21, sports the memorable front cover shot depicting Apple’s leader touching his guru-like beard, his eyes piercing intensely at the camera and eyebrows slightly lifted as if he is imagining Apple’s next big thing. That image, also found on Apple’s recently revamped PR website under the Apple Leadership section, is the Albert Watson portrait taken in 2009, author Walter Isaacson revealed in a private email exchange with Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt. The back cover?

The back is a Norman Seeff portrait of him in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh, which ran in Rolling Stone in January 1984. The title font is Helvetica. It will look as you see it, with no words on the back cover.

More important to Apple fans, the earlier than expected book launch – which had been originally pinpointed for March 6, 2012 – has nothing to do with the state of Steve Jobs’s health, Isaacson told Fortune’s Elmer-DeWitt. Apple’s boss has gone on an indefinite sick leave in January 2011, his third health-related leave of absence from the company he co-founded. Here’s from Isaacson:

It’s actually not related to any decline. I turned most of the book in this past June. It’s now all done and edited. The March 2012 date (or whatever date it was) was never a deeply-considered pubdate. Like the original cover design, it came about because the publisher wanted to put something in the database last spring.

This is obviously an important tidbit for Apple fans concerned about Steve’s well-being. Go past the fold for the publisher’s long description of the book.  The book is available for Pre-Order at Amazon for $20.

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