On October 18th Apple (AAPL) will announce results for the company's 4th fiscal quarter ended September 24th. To gauge expectations for the quarter, we asked members of the AAPL Independent Analysts group on Linkedin and members of the Apple Finance Board, who have participated in prior quarterly indexes, to submit estimates of the company's 4th fiscal quarter performance.
Among the fourteen individuals who submitted estimates for this September quarter index are well known independent analysts Horace Dediu and Daniel Tello, returning analysts Navin Nagrani and Patrick Smellie, and newcomers Michael Cranston and Martin Epstein. Collectively these individuals represent a cross section of the AAPL independent analyst community and come from various professional backgrounds and career interests.
On average index participants anticipate the following September quarter unit sales results:
20.40% YOY Rise
68.52% YOY Rise
20.91% YOY Decline
225.32% YOY Rise
Notes on the Unit Sales Numbers
Mac sales: Over the first nine months of FY 2011, Macintosh unit sales rose 21.1%. The index average is inline with the recent unit sales trend and reflects confidence in Mac sales during the recent back-to-school season.
iPhone sales: The index average reflects expectations of a slower rate of growth in iPhone unit sales in the 4th quarter due to the release of the iPhone 5 in the holiday quarter. During the first nine months of the fiscal year, iPhone unit sales rose 113%.
iPod sales: The Apple iPod remains in a state of steady unit sales decline. The iOS-based Apple iPod touch remains the biggest revenue generator among the available iPod models. Apple's decision this year to offer $100 in iTunes content to students purchasing a new Mac versus a free iPod touch will influence iPod unit sales results in the quarter.
iPad sales: The index average suggests anticipation of strong iPad unit sales in the September quarter as Apple strived to resolve the challenge of constrained product supplies. Index participants expect a rise in unit sales of 225% over the prior-year period.
On average the index participants anticipate the following revenue and net income results:
Notes on the revenue and earnings estimates
Revenue: Analysts anticipate revenue growth in the September quarter of 68.8%, below the 78.2% pace of growth in the first nine months of the fiscal year.
Gross Margins: The analysts expect gross margins for the quarter of 41.55%, slightly below the June quarter gross margin of 41.73% but above the gross margin of 36.92% in the prior-year quarter.
Operating Expenses: Consistent with recent trends
, the independent analysts expect operating expenses to remain below 9% revenue and consume 8.55% of revenue in the September quarter.
Income Taxes: The average tax rate among the analysts is 23.43%. This is inline with the 23.5% tax rate in the June quarter.
Net Income: The surveyed analysts expect net income representing 25.52% of revenue and similar to the 25.58% of revenue that flowed to the net income line in the June quarter.
EPS: At $9.31 the analysts expect a 100.7% rise in EPS as the rate of revenue growth continues to outpace the rate of growth in operating expenses and gross margins remain high. Over the first three quarters of the fiscal year, EPS rose 96.2%.
I will post an comprehensive overview as to why I expect Apple's September quarter earnings to approach $10 per share. Please follow the quarterly analyst comparisons at Apple 2.0
as many of the independent analyst estimates included in this index are compared to the September quarter estimates from the Wall Street pros.
Disclosure: The author is long AAPL shares.