Analyst: Higher Costs, Free Cases to Impact AAPL

Apple’s third quarter revenue beat analyst expectations and the company’s own records, and there’s still plenty of growth ahead. In the near term, however, higher parts prices and the cost of giving away free iPhone 4 cases will have an impact on the company’s profits, according to Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall.

“We are conservatively adjusting our future gross margin profile lower due to: 1) higher costs associated with the iPhone 4 and iPad, and 2) revenue deferral impact associated with the bumper give-away due to Antennagate,” Mr. Marshall said.

Apple’s revenue deferral for its free iPhone 4 case program could “negatively impact the overall gross margin in September 2010 by 100bps, but should reverse in December 2010,” according to Mr. Marshall’s projections.

Apple reported record revenue for its June quarter at US$15.7 billion, with earnings of $3.25 billion and earnings per share of $3.51. Those results were helped in part by record Mac unit sales of 3.47 million, as well as 8.4 million iPhones, 9.41 million iPods, and 3.27 million iPads.

Looking forward, Mr. Marshall is modeling revenue at $18.537 billion for Apple’s September quarter, above the company’s $18 billion guidance. He expects Apple will report a 38 percent gross margin, and an EPS of $4.05.

For calendar 2011, Mr. Marshall is estimating Apple will pull in $81.872 billion, show a 37.3 percent gross margin, and an EPS of $17.25.

Mr. marshall is maintaining his “Buy” rating for Apple’s stock, but lowering his target price to $345 from $370. Apple is currently trading at $258.03, up 3.79 (1.49%).