Apple's Strong iPhone & iPad Sales to Offset Poor Q4 Mac Results

Apple Q1 Predictions Kuo

The fourth quarter performance of Apple’s “main products” such as the iPhone and the iPad, will outperform market expectations when announced next week at the company’s quarterly results call, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as reported by AppleInsider. Despite investor concern about a cut to iPhone 5 component orders that has pummeled the company’s stock this week, Mr. Kuo predicts strong sales that will beat the market consensus and compensate for other product areas where Apple will likely fall short.

In all, Mr. Kuo estimates that Apple shipped just under 52 million iPhones during the quarter, an increase of 93 percent from the previous quarter and 41 percent year-over-year. That number comprises more than 35 million shipments of the iPhone 5, a decrease from Mr. Kuo’s original forecast of 36.5 million, 9.5 million shipments of the iPhone 4S, and 7.3 million shipments of the iPhone 4. That would bring Apple’s 2012 totals to over 140 million units, with strong sales of the iPhone 4S leading to 74 million in the first half of the year.

Mr. Kuo predicts that sales of Apple’s other hot product, the iPad, also did well with 23 million units shipped last quarter, a 49 percent increase year-over-year, although relatively poor demand for the fourth-generation iPad and supply chain issues for the iPad mini decreased potential sales on the quarter.

Going forward, Mr. Kuo predicts a stronger performance in the mobile device industry for the Cupertino company, with 6.5 percent iPhone growth and 64 percent iPad growth in the first calendar quarter of 2013.

While iDevice performance may outperform expectations, Mr. Kuo is not as optimistic about Apple’s Mac lineup. A poor pricing model by Apple for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has led to low consumer interest for the product, and severe shortages in the production of the new iMacs has caused a nearly 50 percent decrease in shipments compared to the same time last year.

Both products are well-reviewed, however, and Mr. Kuo believes that improvements to the manufacturing process and new pricing in 2013 will lead to strong Mac growth in the coming year.

Overall, Mr. Kuo remains conservative on Apple, citing continuing supply chain difficulties, poor pricing, weak gross margins, and the usual drop in shipments that most companies face during the first calendar quarter.

Mr. Kuo’s estimates, along with those of many other analysts, will be tested when Apple reports its first fiscal quarter earnings next Wednesday, January 23, at 5:00 PM EST. The Mac Observer will have live coverage of the call and analysis of the results.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.