AAPL quickly climbed 6 percent in pre-market trading following Apple’s announcement that it had sold a record 9M iphones in the first weekend, beating most analyst expectations. The last time it hit $500 was six weeks ago, when Carl Icahn announced his increased stake in the company, believed to be in excess of $1.5B.
Analyst forecasts for sales of the new iPhones had ranged wildly from 5M to 10M, but 9M was at the high end of what most were expecting and substantially above the more pessimistic forecasts. Four major financial firms had seemed unimpressed by the announcement on 10th September, downgrading the stock.
Apple’s SEC filing advised investors that it expects to hit the high-end of its earlier Q4 guidance …
Apple expects total company revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter to be near the high end of the previously provided range of $34 billion to $37 billion, and expects gross margin to be near the high end of the previously provided range of 36% to 37%.
BTIG’s Waltyer Piecyk previously put together a chart showing the short-term impact of new iPhone announcements, with the ‘One month after’ figure giving a steer on stock price after around 20 days of sales:
Fortune pointed out that the long-term trend is for AAPL stock to rise after iPhone launches:
Many had believed early sales of the iPhone 5S might have been capped by supply constraints, with sales of the Gold iPhone 5s in particular showing October availability within minutes of going on sale. Apple reportedly boosted production of the model almost immediately. Availability of the 5s appears to have improved today, with the handset available for immediate in-store pickup in many areas.
Whether the trend will continue is the key question. The big new variable this year, of course, is that Apple has launched not one but two new handsets. In previous years, we had the new handset at the top-end, its predecessor in the middle and one generation older taking up the ‘free with contract’ slot. The geek view would be that nothing much has changed, as the 5c is simply a very slightly tweaked iPhone 5 with a new casing. The mass market, however, is likely to see the iPhone 5c as a brand new handset.
Early indications of the split between the two handsets doesn’t really tell us much. While the 5s appears to be outselling the 5c by a factor of three, it’s to be expected that the 5s would see all the early love: it’s the model the hardcore Apple fans were always going to buy, and those are the guys who would be out there buying on day one. While Apple’s pricing of the iPhone 5c as a mid-tier handset was never going to see penetration reach down to the low-end, it is likely that a recognisably brand-new phone is going to sell better than last year’s model.
It’s notable, too, that all of Apple’s TV advertising to date has been promoting the iPhone 5c. It’s believed the plastic phone has higher margins, and Apple may be trying to encourage anyone wavering between the two to opt for the model with the lower price but which will make the company more money.
Back in August of last year, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing said that each time Apple sells a new iPhone, it sells as many units as all of the previous versions combined. That gets tougher every year, of course, but if launch weekend sales are anything to go by, Apple is giving it a damn good go.