Though its shares have run up a bit over the past few months, Apple's (AAPL) forward earnings multiples are still fairly low, as are near-term investor expectations.
That could work in the company's favor as it posts its June quarter earnings report after the close on Tuesday, July 31, and hosts an earnings call at 5 p.m. Eastern. On average, analysts polled by FactSet expect revenue of $52.3 billion (up 15% annually) and GAAP EPS of $2.16 during Apple's seasonally weakest quarter.
TheStreet will be live-blogging Apple's report and call on Tuesday after the close. Please check our home page then for more details.
For the September quarter, which usually sees new iPhones begin shipping towards its end, the consensus is for revenue of $59.47 billion (up 13%) and EPS of $2.65. Apple provides quarterly sales guidance in its reports.
Here are a few things for investors to keep an eye on as the festivities commence.
1. iPhone Sales and Pricing Trends
Following a March quarter during which iPhone unit sales rose by only 1.5 million annually to 52.2 million, the consensus is for June quarter iPhone units to rise by 1 million to 42 million. And amid a slew of reports pointing to subdued orders by Apple for next-gen iPhones, the September quarter consensus is for iPhone units to be flat at 47 million.
It wouldn't be shocking to see iPhone volumes top those low expectations. Recent data from firms such as Kantar Worldpanel and Wave7 Research suggest the iPhone has been gaining some share in developed markets. In addition, commentary from Samsung and mobile chip suppliers such as Broadcom (AVGO) and Skyworks (SWKS) indicates Samsung's high-end phone sales are under pressure. And last week, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) , which has pretty strong iPhone chip exposure, said on its Q2 earnings call that it's slightly more positive now about second-half smartphone demand than it was in April.
Meanwhile, iPhone X sales should continue lifting Apple's iPhone average selling price (ASP). In the March quarter, Apple's iPhone ASP rose by $73 annually to $728. For the June quarter, typically a softer one for ASPs, the consensus is for ASP to rise by $87 to $693. The iPhone, it should be remembered, still accounts for over 60% of Apple's annual revenue.
2. Services Growth
Apple's Services revenue rose 31% in the March quarter to $9.19 billion, and was a major reason why Apple beat quarterly sales and EPS expectations. App Store transaction growth, Apple Music sign-ups and higher search ad revenue-sharing payments from Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) -- provided in exchange for making Google the default search engine on iOS, macOS and the Safari browser -- are believed to be the biggest drivers. Apple Pay transactions and iCloud Storage subscriptions appear to be playing lesser roles.
For the June quarter, the consensus is for Services revenue to rise 27% to $9.21 billion. Back in early 2017, Tim Cook declared Apple aims to double its Services revenue by 2020.
3. Other Products Growth
Apple's Other Products segment, which covers the Apple Watch, headphones (Beats and AirPods), Apple TV set-tops, iPods, accessories and most recently HomePods, saw revenue rise 38% in the March quarter to $3.95 billion. The HomePod's February debut helped, but so did strong Apple Watch and AirPods sales.
The June quarter consensus is for Other Products revenue to rise 34% to $3.68 billion. HomePod sales likely slipped, but Apple Watch and (especially) AirPods demand still looks pretty healthy.
4. The Impact of Buybacks and Currency Swings
On the heels of tax reform, which the company is using to repatriate about $207 billion worth of cash post-tax, Apple announced in April that it's launching a new $100 billion stock buyback authorization, and that it would finish using an older $210 billion authorization (it had $10 billion left on it) in the June quarter. All of that suggests there was a healthy amount of EPS-boosting buyback activity took place last quarter.
But while buybacks are lifting EPS, the dollar's strengthening since mid-April probably weighed a bit on Apple's top and bottom lines. Unlike many other tech giants, Apple doesn't break out precisely how much currency trends lifted or hurt its revenue.
5. China Numbers and Commentary
Apple's Greater China sales (they cover mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) have begun rebounding in recent quarters, after having dropped in fiscal 2016 and 2017. In the March quarter, Greater China revenue rose 21% to $13 billion (21% of Apple's total revenue); Cook indicated iPhones, Macs, wearables and services all played roles.
Could trade tensions throw a wrench into the rebound? For now, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about avoiding serious damage. Mobile phones aren't on any of the Trump Administrations tariff lists for Chinese-made goods, and thus far, Beijing has avoided calling for boycotts of Apple or other major U.S. consumer brands. Still, any earnings call commentary from Cook or CFO Luca Maestri about the top or bottom-line impact of trade issues is worth closely listening to.