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Live Blog: Follow Apple’s Fiscal Q1 Earnings In Real Time

Apple reports 2021 holiday quarter results on January 27. Follow the Apple Maven's live blog coverage to find out: will the company impress, and can the stock recover?

(Scroll down for live coverage starting at 3:55 p.m. EST)

The time is here for Apple to report fiscal first quarter 2021 earnings. Today, the Apple Maven will comment on the Cupertino company’s results in real time, via live blog, starting around 3:55 p.m. EST on January 27. Join us for this eventful evening!

The live blog begins further below. Don’t forget to refresh your browser, especially around and after the end of this Thursday’s trading session, to see the updates.

But before diving in, let’s do a quick recap of what to expect of Apple on earnings day. If you prefer to skip the preview, scroll straight down to the “Live Blog Starts Here” section.

Figure 1: Live Blog: Follow Apple’s Fiscal Q1 Earnings In Real Time

Figure 1: Live Blog: Follow Apple’s Fiscal Q1 Earnings In Real Time

(Read more from the Apple Maven: Apple Stock: Jim Cramer’s Opinion Ahead Of Earnings)

Record quarter coming up

Wall Street expects Apple to deliver $118.5 billion in revenues in the holiday quarter. If so, this will be the largest quarterly sales number in Apple’s history! Still, the implied growth of 6% would look modest compared to the monster quarters that Apple has recently delivered.

Analysts also expect EPS to land around $1.89, which would represent around 13% growth YOY. At least for the past 20 quarters (i.e. around five years), Apple has not once delivered consensus-lagging earnings per share.

Apple’s management team made a few general comments regarding the holiday results during the most recent earnings call, three months ago:

  • All segments should experience growth YOY, except the iPad (which, in turn, saw revenues skyrocket 41% in the comparable quarter last year).
  • Supply chain disruptions and component shortages should cause a quarterly revenue drag of $6 billion.
  • Both gross margin and op margin are projected to expand considerably YOY, to the tune of 1.5 to 2 percentage points.

When analyzing the reported fiscal Q1 numbers, keep the table below in mind as a benchmark. Anything better than what is listed under “this year” could be perceived as a positive.

Figure 2: Apple's projected P&L vs. last year.

Figure 2: Apple's projected P&L vs. last year.

Apple stock in correction

For Apple stock  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, 2022 has not been an easy year. After shares peaked at $182 on January 3, they came down 12% over the following three weeks. Interestingly, AAPL has been down every single day for the past 7 trading sessions, as the market turns decisively bearish.

In December, the Apple Maven discussed trimming AAPL as the stock rallied viciously through mid-holiday quarter. Today, after shares entered correction territory alongside the Nasdaq, valuations start to look a bit more inviting.

Could now be a good time to own Apple stock and ride a potential post-earnings recovery? Stay tuned to find out.

Live blog starts here!

(Please refresh your browser for updates below)

3:03 p.m. PST: Thanks for being with the Apple Maven this evening! Happy investing and have a wonderful night!

3:02 p.m. PST: My key takeaway: not much has changed in Cupertino. Apple continues to execute extremely well, despite the supply chain issues. Demand for Apple products and services is at a peak. From a business perspective, investors should expect more of the same in the foreseeable future. The stock probably benefited from being down some 12% from the early January high. At least for now, dip-buyers have been taking advantage of the opportunity. 

2:59 p.m. PST: The earnings call is over! AAPL up a very solid +5%!

2:56 p.m. PST: As the call winds down, I put together the following table for fiscal Q2. This is a projection based on current revenue consensus (Apple has not guided for it), the midpoint of the guidance range across the other lines of the P&L, and my estimate of share count. My projected $1.34 EPS is better than current consensus by a couple pennies. That is: Apple's outlook today came in slightly ahead of expectations.

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2:56 p.m. PST: Question on Apple TV+ content. We clearly seem to be heading towards the end of the call, the key topics have been addressed. Apple stock up +5% in after hours. Tim Cook says that Apple still has plenty to explore in content.

2:54 p.m. PST: Question on installed base and services business. Tim says that there is still lots of room to grow.

2:51 p.m. PST: Question on the iPhone cycle, will segment continue to grow and what are the growth avenues? Tim says that iPhone has become part of so many people's lives. Record number of upgraders and switchers. Optimistic view long term.

2:49 p.m. PST: Question on guidance and March quarter seasonality. Luca repeats his point about supply chain constraints: still there, but decreasing sequentially. Happy about how the business is going. 

2:46 p.m. PST: Question on Apple TV+ and slowing subscriber growth (analyst is probably thinking of Netflix). Tim says that he does not share per-service subs numbers. Total company, subs are growing very well. Tim repeats Apple's award wins, feels good about competitive position.

2:45 p.m. PST: Question on supply chain vs. margin expansion. Tim says that he sees inflation hitting margin and opex. He hopes that part of it is transitory, but "we will see". 

2:43 p.m. PST: Question on Greater China. Tim says that sales grew 21% last quarter, but he won't comment on macro-level factors in China. iPhone doing very well with upgraders and switchers, despite the device being constrained in the quarter.

2:42 p.m. PST: Question on how to allocate R&D money and what opportunities to pursue. Tim says that Apple has a model of waiting for the right time to enter certain new spaces and executing more quietly. R&D spend has been ramped up, so Apple has been working on things that are not in the market yet.

2:40 p.m. PST: How much revenue left on the table due to supply chain issues? Tim says that it is hard to estimate with precision. Limits to restating that March quarter headwinds will be milder than December quarter's. This seems obvious to me, since fiscal Q1 is a much bigger quarter of sales due to the holidays. Tim sees "encouraging signs", despite lingering challenges.

2:39 p.m. PST: Question on the metaverse opportunity. Tim says that Apple is always exploring innovation. CEO takes somewhat of a pass on this question, understandably.

2:36 p.m. PST: Question on component and logistics, is Apple rethinking the supply chain footprint and geographic exposure to component vendors? Tim Cook says that chip shortage is an industry-wide problem. Apple's supply chain has done well given the challenges. Tim does not see a case for rethinking the supply chain.

2:34 p.m. PST: Question on what pieces have outperformed in services. Luca says that Apple has set December quarter records in every major region, better than expected. Paid subs increased 165 million in past 12 months to over 700 million. Again, the overarching theme is "all looks great across the board".

2:32 p.m. PST: Question on Mac, how can Apple gain share and what target markets are most attractive? Tim says that Apple has set records across the globe, driven by the M1 and the MacBook Pro. Upgraders and newcomers (6 out of 10 in Greater China) are both lifting the weight.

2:30 p.m. PST: Question about decisions on how to allocate components between iPhone and iPad. Tim Cook says that challenges remain in legacy nodes, which is dependent on supplier, not on Apple deciding how to allocate components across its products. Tim adds that he sees an improvement in March quarter regarding component issues.

2:28 p.m. PST: Question on margin, are the revenue mix tailwinds sustainable? And on the service side, where are the favorable trends? Tim Cook says that demand is strong across the iPhone 13 family. Top 5 selling models in US and Australia, 4 of the top 6 in Japan, etc. Apple is gaining share, and Tim feels good despite constraints. Luca answers on services, margin profile varies from offering to offering. Apple does not guide at the product and services level, but CFO points out that total company margin guidance is very strong. 

2:25 p.m. PST: Q&A starts! AAPL still up +4%.

2:24 p.m. PST: Gross margin guidance of 42.5% to 43.5%. Opex of $12.5 billion to $12.7 billion. Other expenses of $150 million. Tax rate of 16%.

2:23 p.m. PST: No specific revenue guidance, as expected. Solid YOY revenue growth, despite supply chain constraints that should ease. Luca reminds that comps will be tough due to timing of iPhone launch last year. Services to grow strong double digits, but decelerating over December quarter.

2:21 p.m. PST: Here comes the outlook! 

2:21 p.m. PST: Oops, discussion on cash position first. Net cash of $80 billion. That's pretty impressive. 

2:19 p.m. PST: I sense that Luca Maestri is about to start talking guidance... get ready! AAPL up +4.4% after hours.

2:19 p.m. PST: Strong subs business... over 700 million active subscriptions.

2:18 p.m. PST: Services strong, all-time record for cloud, music, video, but only a December quarter record for App Store.

2:17 p.m. PST: Installed base of iPad at an all-time high, despite headwind to sales this quarter. Half of iPad sales are from new users.

2:17 p.m. PST: Supply constraints hit the Mac, but the M1 helped to drive demand higher. "Momentum in this category is impressive", he says.

2:15 p.m. PST: Gross margin up 160 bps YOY due to volume leverage and revenue mix. To me, "revenue mix" also means strength at the higher end of the product portfolio, probably. 

2:14 p.m. PST: Apple stock up +4%.

2:13 p.m. PST: The CFO is going through the P&L numbers in detail. All-time records across the board, except iPad.

2:13 p.m. PST: Luca is on!

2:12 p.m. PST: Tim Cook seems to be winding down his prepared remarks... CFO is next. To reinforce: guidance, if it comes, will be crucial.

2:10 p.m. PST: Tim Cook turns to store employees, thanking them for the work and reinforcing Apple's commitment to them and to the communities in which the company operates.

2:10 p.m. PST: Tim talks about Fitness+. These last few products and services are small for now, but Tim Cook clearly seems excited about the growth opportunities here.

2:09 p.m. PST: Apple TV+ has won over 200 awards, says the CEO. 

2:08 p.m. PST: So far, the narrative has been "everything looks great"

2:08 p.m. PST: Tim Cook talks about audio and the HomePod Mini. 

2:07 p.m. PST: All-time revenue record for wearables and home. Apple Watch Series 7 a success. Good feedback from customers.

2:06 p.m. PST: All-time record revenue for iPhone on the back of iPhone 13. Record revenue quarter for Mac, supported by the M1 chip.

2:05 p.m. PST: Tim talks about COVID-19. He is proud of how the team has been executing. He now gives Steve Jobs a nod for introducing the iPhone. "We never stop creating, we never stop innovating".

2:03 p.m. PST: Supply constraints higher than September quarter.

2:03 p.m. PST: Tim Cook proud to announce biggest quarter ever. Better-than-expected revenues, 1.8 billion device installed base.

2:02 p.m. PST: Whoa, Apple stock up +5%!

2:01 p.m. PST: And we are off! CEO Tim Cook will follow the disclaimers. CFO Luca Maestri will then come in with financial performance commentary and guidance. Lastly, Q&A.

1:59 p.m. PST: Earnings call starts any moment now. Listen to it here and follow our commentary too. 

1:57 p.m. PST: Ok, so the earnings call starts in less than 5 minutes. Be very attentive to guidance, which should be delivered around 2:15 p.m. PST by CFO Luca Maestri. Otherwise, pay attention to the narrative around supply chain problems and, possibly, component inflation. Apple stock up +3% in after hours.

Picture4

1:56 p.m. PST: Stephanie Link on CNBC was impressed by rich cash flow pointing at a large buyback announcement in a couple of months. That would also be good news.

1:55 p.m. PST: Other expenses came in worse than guidance, otherwise we would have seen another 2 cents in EPS. 

1:52 p.m. PST: Further down the P&L, gross margin of 43.8% was the best since fiscal 2018 at least, maybe much longer. Same thing with op margin of 33.5%. Very, very impressive.

1:51 p.m. PST: Check out the revenue growth charts below:

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1:50 p.m. PST: Geographically, Greater China stood out once again: revenues up 21%. Japan had a disappointing holiday with sales down 14%, the worst in the past 12 quarters at least.

1:48 p.m. PST: Mac had the highest growth rate at 25%, followed closely by Services at 24%.

1:47 p.m. PST: The iPad was by far the loser of the holiday quarter: -14%. Tim Cook told CNBC that this segment is most sensitive to shortage in legacy node components. He also said that supply chain was more of a headwind than expected, which makes the numbers even more impressive in the face of such challenges.

1:44 p.m. PST: Ok, so I've plugged in the numbers... 

1:44 p.m. PST: Wedbush's Dan Ives says that "this quarter should be framed in Cupertino"... he was impressed with execution in the face of supply chain issues.

1:43 p.m. PST: CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that demand for the iPhone picked up in the last two weeks of the quarter, which bodes well for demand momentum.

1:38 p.m. PST: Let me plug in the numbers in my spreadsheet, give me a couple minutes...

1:38 p.m. PST: As expected, the guidance was not offered in the report. So, expect it to come during the earnings call. Stay tuned for that, definitely! It could be a stock price mover. 

1:37 p.m. PST: Apple stock up more than +2% now! Great quarter!

1:36 p.m. PST: Mac was also a beat, $10.9 billion vs. $9.5 billion expected. As anticipated here, by the Apple Maven, iPhone and Mac were the stars of the quarter.

1:35 p.m. PST: Look at that beautiful revenue beat for iPhones... $71.6 billion vs. consensus $68.3 billion. Very nice! Any question that the iPhone 13 has been a success?

1:34 p.m. PST: CNBC reports that all segments beat consensus on revenues, except for iPad that was severely constrained by supply chain. Apple's management team had warned about it last quarter.

1:32 p.m. PST: Gross margin of 43.8% is above management's guidance of 41.5% to 42.5%. Great news.

1:31 p.m. PST: $124 billion in revenues, $2.10 in EPS! That's well above expectations!

1:31 p.m. PST: It's a beat! All around! Stock is up nearly +2%!

1:30 p.m. PST: And Apple stock moving up!!

1:29 p.m. PST: Ok, Apple... I'm ready!

1:26 p.m. PST: Ok, the tension is getting to me! Quick pause for water break (and YET ANOTHER cup of coffee), I will be back in 3 minutes.

1:25 p.m. PST: I hope so... considering that Apple represents 7% of the S&P 500 and 12% of the Nasdaq, strong results and positive investor reaction here could be huge for the broad market tomorrow and, who knows, into the next week.

1:24 p.m. PST: Apple will be only the 2nd FAAMG company to report earnings this season. Meta, Alphabet and Amazon will release results next week. Can the Cupertino company impress as much as peer Microsoft did on Tuesday?

1:22 p.m. PST: Speaking to CNBC earlier today, Cowen's Krish Sankar that Apple's quarter should be all about supply chain challenges and the iPhone. I think that these are two key points as well.

1:18 p.m. PST: Apple is currently trading up +0.1% in after hours. Might as well call this "flat", as I expect the stock to swing widely after the press release crosses the wire.

1:15 p.m. PST: As a recap, I expect Mac and iPhone to do very well this quarter. iPad will face insane comps, so don't expect YOY growth here. A big question to be answered is on supply chain constraints: will the impact to revenues exceed the guided $6 billion? And will the impact to future quarters ease or increase? 

1:13 p.m. PST: Speaking of earnings report vs. earnings call, here's a quick reminder. Only two days ago, Microsoft delivered killers results, but the stock immediately tanked in after-hours trading: -5%. Then, during the call, strong guidance turned the stock around, and it began trading higher by +3%. This could happen today too, why not?

1:11 p.m. PST: I am republishing below what Apple's fiscal Q1 P&L will probably look like, assuming guidance and consensus estimates are matched. Use it as a reference guide.

Apple's projected P&L vs. last year.

Apple's projected P&L vs. last year.

1:10 p.m. PST: So, definitely stick around for the earnings call. I bet that it will be more of a stock price mover than the results of fiscal Q1 — unless the results are overwhelmingly good or bad.

1:09 p.m. PST: Apple used to include guidance in the report, before COVID-19 hit. For the past many quarters, guidance has either not been offered (earlier pandemic days) or partially offered during the conference call.

1:08 p.m. PST: When the report comes, look for revenues to beat $118.5 million and for EPS to top $1.89. That would be a good sign.

1:07 p.m. PST: Here's a quick summary of what to expect... Apple's earnings report usually comes out at 1:30 p.m. PST, 4:30 p.m. EST. Half an hour later, the conference call starts.

1:05 p.m. PST: This is the 8th straight day of loss for Apple...

1:03 p.m. PST: The S&P 500 also inched higher towards the end but sold off to finish the session at -0.5%. Nasdaq -1.4%. Nope, we can't catch a break!

1:02 p.m. PST: Why am I not surprised? Apple stock nearly turned positive with seconds of trading left to go, then... down -0.5% to end the session. Wow!

1:01 p.m. PST: Here's the closing bell! We are done for today! Get ready for Apple's earnings report!

12:58 p.m. PST: Apple stock is trying to move into positive territory in yet another insane day in the equities market! Shares still down -0.15%.

12:56 p.m. PST: Hello, everyone! We are back! Welcome to uninterrupted coverage of Apple's fiscal Q1 report day!

9:05 a.m. PST: Happy Apple earnings day, everyone! It is a sunny and pleasant morning here, in the Bay Area, where the Cupertino company will announce fiscal Q1 results in a few hours. Below is how Apple stock has been trading today: up nearly +2%, but with a few ups and downs. Be sure to come back at around 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST) for uninterrupted live coverage of the results!

AAPL Price Performance Jan 27 Morning

AAPL Price Performance Jan 27 Morning

3:00 a.m. PST: Today is Apple’s earnings day! We will be back ahead of the closing bell for full analysis of Apple’s results and earnings call. See you then!

Twitter speaks

Apple reports fiscal Q1 earnings on Thursday, January 27, after the closing bell. What do you think happens to AAPL stock on Friday?

(Disclaimers: this is not investment advice. The author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting the Apple Maven)