Over half analysts surveyed expect AAPL to beat its own high-end guidance today

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Update: The analysts were right to be optimistic, but not optimistic enough

As we wait for Apple to announce its Q4 results in this afternoon’s earnings call, more than half of the analysts included in Fortune’s survey expect the company to beat its high-end guidance of $37B. The average is driven up by the amateurs, who come in at $37.38B, while the professionals expect just a touch under the top end at $36.95B.

Predictions on both revenues and earnings do vary markedly, however. While the consensus view is that year-on-year revenues will be up 3 percent and earnings down 6 percent, even among the professionals the earnings estimates span a 15 percent range.

Top: FBN’s Shelby Seyrafi: $39.18 billion (up 9% year over year)
Bottom: Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White: $34.57 billion (down 4%)

Apple beating its own guidance wouldn’t have been remarkable in the days when Apple gave absurdly pessimistic guidance and then blew it away, but would be impressive since Cook started offering realistic ranges …  Read more

Google Play passes App Store in downloads for the first time, but not revenue

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According to data from App Annie’s latest download and revenue report, Google Play for the first time surpassed the App Store in app downloads during the second quarter of 2013. While Google was able to move past Apple with about 10 percent more downloads during the three month period, the report notes the App Store brought in nearly 2.3x the amount of revenue.

App Annie says that Google Play’s growth was driven by emerging markets including Brazil, India, and Russia, and while the App Store still leads by revenue, Google Play closed the gap slightly compared to last quarter and years past.

Google Play saw Brazil climb two spots to join India and Russia as another emerging market in the top 5 countries by downloads for Q2 2013…The United States, Japan and United Kingdom remained the leaders in the iOS App Store when looking at revenue generation, and Australia climbed to #4 after a strong Q2. iOS App Store revenue was driven primarily by the United States and Japan, which combined to account for about half of the total iOS App Store revenue in Q2.

App Annie’s report also includes its Games Index tracking mobile games on iOS and Android, which now account for around 40 percent of all downloads on both platforms. During Q2, Gameloft’s Despicable Me: Minion Rush grabbed the top spot for most downloaded iOS game, while publisher Tiny Piece took the honour on Google Play.

As for non-gaming apps, Vine increased by three positions to become the most downloaded app during the quarter on iOS, followed closely by YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram. Read more

Apple reports $43.6b revenue for Q2 2013: 37.4m iPhones, 19.5m iPads, 5.6m iPods, just under 4m Macs

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As planned, Apple has announced its Q2 2013 earnings results.

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2013 second quarter ended March 30, 2013. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $39.2 billion and net profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37.5 percent compared to 47.4 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 35.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 19.5 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 11.8 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold just under 4 million Macs, compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple reported revenues for Q2 of $43.6 billion, which beats Apple’s estimates for the quarter of between $41 and $43 billion. This revenue compares to a revenue of $39.2 billion in the year-ago Q2. Apple also reported net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share

Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones, 19.5 million iPads, just under 4 million Macs, and 5.6 million iPods. This compares to 35.1 million iPhones, 11.8 million iPads, and 4 million Macs, sold in the year-ago Q2 2012 quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on the results:

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer as well:

“Our cash generation remains very strong, with $12.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter and an ending cash balance of $145 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.

Apple’s guidance for next quarter (Q3 2013) is revenue between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion

Apple will hold a conference call regarding today’s announcement. We will have live coverage at 5 PM EST/ 2 PM PST.

Here’s Apple’s press release announcement:

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Apple allows Microsoft SkyDrive 3.0 update into App Store following delays

SkyDrive-for-iOS_0DEB6697Update: Microsoft provided us with the following comment noting that “people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.” In other words, it doesn’t look like Apple will be getting a cut of additional storage purchased, but users won’t be able to do so via the iOS app:

We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers. The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.

Back in December we heard reports, later confirmed by Microsoft, that Apple was delaying updates to its SkyDrive iOS app. The delays were apparently over a dispute regarding whether or not Apple should receive its usual 30% cut for additional storage that users purchased through the app.

While there is no word yet on exactly how Microsoft and Apple resolved the issue, Microsoft announced today on its Windows SkyDrive blog that a new update is available for the iOS app via iTunes starting today.

Version 3.0 of the app, the first update to SkyDrive for iOS since June, brings support for iPhone 5 and iPad mini, a revamped user experience, enhancements to photo features such as the ability to download full res photos to iPad and iPhone, and much more: Read more

Apple closes gap on Samsung for connected device sales in Q4 as market hits 1B devices

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Research firm IDC is out today with its latest report on the smart-connected device market, and it includes worldwide shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, smartphones, and tablets. IDC predicted the market in total grew 29.1-percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units shipped and hitting a total value of $576.9 billion. According to the report, Apple significantly closed the gap on Samsung during the last quarter of the year. It jumped from 15.1-percent in Q3 to 20.3-percent of unit shipments in Q4 2012. That brings the company up right behind market leader Samsung, which dropped slightly from 21.8-percent to 21.2-percent in the fourth quarter:

Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3% unit shipment share versus 21.2% for Samsung.

Not surprisingly, Apple dominated Samsung when it came to revenue share. It took in 30.7-percent of the market compared to just 20.4-percent for Samsung by revenue:

On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung.

Apple’s increase is likely thanks to strong iPad and iPad mini sales, as growth in the market was “largely driven by 78.4-percent year-over-year growth in tablet shipments.” IDC expected tablet shipments to outgrow desktop PCs by the end of this year, while the tablet market could surpass the portable PC market in 2014 and provide Apple with even more opportunity to outgrow Samsung for total connected smart device shipments this year and next: Read more

Apple expected to report record revenues — but falling earnings

Fortune reported that Apple is likely to achieve record revenues in Q2—but the first fall in its earnings in a decade.

Apple’s revenues are expected to grow from $41 billion to $43 billion, another record for Q2, but margins are expected to have fallen substantially from a peak of just over 47 percent last year to ‘between 37.5 and 38.5 percent’ this year.

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Margins tend to fall with new products, due to high initial investments and reduced yields when pushing the limits of what can be achieved (as with the new iMacs), and it’s this falling margin that has impacted Apple’s earnings per share…

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Apple’s ‘break-even’ iTunes business now estimated to make $2B a year

Asymco’s Horace Dediu has estimated that Apple’s iTunes business, initially intended only to cover its costs as a way of driving hardware sales, now earns the company annual profits of a cool $2 billion.

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What started as just a music store now sells music, video, books, iOS software, and Mac software. Revenues have grown five-fold in 7 years, with total sales approaching $5 billion a quarter and notching up an estimated 23 billion transactions a year.

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Liveblog: Apple’s Q1 2013 earnings results conference call

As previously announced, today Apple is reporting its Q1 2013 earnings results. There is much uncertainty going into today’s call with Apple shares down significantly in recent months to roughly $500 since hitting a high of over $700 per share in September. With the iPhone 5 landing in a total of 100 countries last month, as well as iPad mini making its way to new markets, Wall Street estimates Apple will report between 47.5 million and 53 million iPhones sold and iPad sales between 23 million and 25 million. Compare that with Apple’s Q1 numbers last year: 37 million iPhones and 15.43 million iPads sold. Earlier this week Verizon reported 6.2M iPhone activations for the quarter, around half of which were iPhone 5 sales.

We’ll be providing blow-by-blow coverage of the earnings call in our live blog below at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern time. Stay tuned to 9to5Mac.com’s homepage for additional coverage:

Head below for updates… Read more