Yesterday, I laid out the vision I had for Intel(INTC) - Get Report and its earnings report. Earlier in the day I had bemoaned my impatience in waiting for the souped-up iMac that I ordered two weeks ago, so today I want to walk through what I expect to see when Apple(AAPL) - Get Report reports its quarterly earnings tonight. It only seems right, given my oft-stated affection for the company's products, that I walk through my vision for Apple's report.
The sell-siders expect the company to report earnings of 18 cents onsales of $2.15 billion tonight. I think the company will blow those numbersout of the water.
We all know that they're selling every iPod they canmake. Little kids, teenage girls, parents, bachelors, early techadopters -- everyone wants an iPod. The sell-siders have slowly but surely beencoming to terms with that fact, and have been ratcheting up their iPodestimates like mad. Just last week, one sell-sider raised his already"aggressive" estimates for iPod sales in 2005 from 8 million to 10million. Ten million units next year! This is a an entire industry thatessentially didn't even exist two years ago. Likewise, I think the company istaking (or beginning to take) serious market share back from
Understand that when you only own 3% of the market, simply takinganother 1% is a 33% jump -- even if there's no growth in the overall market.That's what Apple is finally doing. And it's in large part due to the runawaysuccess of the iPod.
Anecdotally, last night I got a call from a PR person at Apple who wasvery gracious in offering to send me a temporary iMac to play with until Ireceive my own. While I love to trial equipment, this one isn't so muchabout "trialing" as it is actually "owning." Believe it or not, I liketo rock out on my Les Paul guitar and Marshall amplifier and I write anoccasional tune or two. Point being that I've got the spot in myapartment all arranged and ready to hang this iMac on the wall for jammingpurposes, and putting a temporary iMac on my office desk next to my othercomputers isn't what I'm looking to do.
I asked the very nice lady if, rather than sending me a temp, therewas any way she could just speed up the delivery of my own model. Alas, shesaid there was no way because they just can't meet demand for the newiMacs. People (like me) are returning to the Macintosh platform becausewe've fallen in love with Apple all over again from our warm and fuzzyexperiences with iPod and iTunes. (Of course, my iTunes doesn'tsense that I've got an Airport Express connected to my stereo, so I still can'twireless stream my music, but that's another story.)
For next quarter, the sell-siders expect Apple to report earnings of 28 cents on $2.52 billion of sales. I think that's a very low hurdle for the company to raise, as the iPod will be in every affluent family's stockings and under every other family's Christmas tree that canpossibly scratch together the money. Likewise, the Apple computers aregoing to have a great Christmas season, finally, after yearsof threatening and disappointing, taking more market share from theWinTel monopoly.
I bought some Apple calls today to add to the Apple common stock thatI've held since exercising Apple calls so many moons ago. I know dozens ofhedge fund friends who are short this thing because "the valuation's toohigh" or because "the faceplate on the iPod scratches too easily andthere's too much competition coming" or because "Microsoft is going todo to Apple in this MP3 business what they did to them in the PC business."
Perhaps they're right. Perhaps they'll be right in the long term. ButI think the odds are that Apple reports a stellar quarter and raisesguidance. I think the stock moves higher, and I placed my betsaccordingly.
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At time of publication, the firm in which Willard is a partner was net long Apple, Intel and Microsoft although positions can change at any time and without notice.
Cody Willard is a partner in a buy-side firm and a contributor to TheStreet.com's RealMoney.
He also produces a premium product for TheStreet.com called
The Telecom Connection and is the founder of
Teleconomics.com. The firm in which Willard is a partner may, from time to time, have long or short positions in, or buy or sell the securities, or derivatives thereof, of companies mentioned in his columns. None of the information in this column constitutes, or is intended to constitute, a recommendation by Willard of any particular security or trading strategy or a determination by Willard that any security or trading strategy is suitable for any specific person. Willard appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to