Analyst: Stop Worrying About iPhone Numbers

With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) set to announce fourth-quarter earnings this week, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu has put his iPhone unit sales prediction ahead of the consensus Wall Street estimate of between 25 million and 26 million. According to Wu, Apple managed unit sales of 27 million for its top-selling smartphone after having overcome the initial supply issues that plagued the iPhone 5.

“We believe investors have gotten overly pessimistic with demand and near-term component issues,” Wu wrote in a note to investors on Monday. “As we have said before, our supply chain checks have indicated still robust demand trends despite Maps concerns, and production capacity has improved due to better yields on in-cell touch screens.”

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Overall, the analyst expects Apple to report “modest” revenue and beat earnings per share estimates while providing “vintage conservative” guidance for the December quarter. The analyst’s earnings per share forecast for the quarter is at $8.93, while for the full fiscal year, he expects $44.39 in EPS. He boosted his EPS forecast for the coming fiscal year to $52 from a previous prediction of $51.40.

However, his iPad sales estimate falls below the consensus of between 17 million and 18 million. According to Wu, Apple’s tablet sales will be around 16.5 million. “The reason is that our supplier checks have indicated lower build plans ahead of iPad Mini and a likely minor iPad refresh with an 8-pin Lightning connector,” Wu wrote. He upped his December quarter estimate for the iPad to 25.5 million from the previous 22.3 million. For the Mac, Wu expects sales of 4.8 million units after the line was helped by the June MacBook Air and MacBook Pro refreshes.

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