When Apple announces its sales and revenue figures for the holiday quarter – calendar Q4 2016, Apple’s fiscal Q1 2017 – it will answer one crucial question. Following three straight quarters of year-on-year decline in sales, will the iPhone 7/Plus have been enough to return the company to growth, or will the quarter make it a full 12 months of decline?
The numbers to beat are $75.9B revenue and 74.8M iPhones – the record results the company reported a year ago.
Apple itself believes it will at least hit the revenue target: the guidance it provided back in October was $76-78B, the lower end of which would just squeeze past that magic $75.9B goal. But the company doesn’t provide estimates of the number of iPhones it expects to sell, so we don’t know for sure whether it expects to beat the 74.8M number.
Revenue might be considered a no-brainer. While Apple aims for accuracy in its guidance, it also likes to play safe, so it could be argued that it wouldn’t have forecast a rise in revenue unless it was confident it could be hit. But things are a little different this time around: Apple would be all too aware that the market would have reacted very poorly indeed to the news of predicting a full twelve months of decline, so the company may have decided to hope for the best.
We’re hearing mixed expectations from analysts, but the general consensus is an optimistic one, both for this quarter’s results and for the stock’s performance over the next 12 months.
However, with one analyst poll expecting the company to come in right at the bottom end of Apple’s guidance, it’s entirely possible that growing service revenue will carry the day, and that the company will hit its revenue goal while still reporting a fourth successive fall in iPhone sales.
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