Apple's quarterly revenue estimate for the first fiscal quarter of 2013

Apple’s quarterly revenue estimate for the first fiscal quarter of 2013

You may recall that almost exactly one year ago I wrote a piece entitled The Forty Billion Dollar Quarter in which I riled in excitement about Apple’s upcoming announcement of what it had achieved in the previous fiscal quarter. I predicted dropped jaws across Wall Street and I wasn’t wrong. Apple eventually announced quarterly revenue for the first quarter of 2012 of just over $46 billion buoyed primarily by superb sales of the iPhone and iPad.

The first fiscal quarter of Apple’s year is always something special, it of course includes the holiday shopping season which these days stretches from around Thanksgiving in the US all the way up until the end of the quarter on December 31. But even if you go back and read my gushing piece about last years first quarter, nothing can prepare any of us for what Apple is likely to announce on January 23.

I’ll spare you anymore blathering about how incredible last year’s results and move right onto the cold hard facts. Let’s start right back at the start of the quarter, during Apple’s Q412 announcement on October 25 the company gave a forecast for the company’s forthcoming quarter which came in at $52 billion in quarterly revenue on an DEPS (diluted earnings per share) of $11.75. Considering Apple’s penchant for low balling its estimates and that the year-ago quarter was comparatively massive compared to any other and yet was smaller than this forecast it’s no surprise that once again all eyes are on Apple. Sorry, am I showing too much excitement again?

There’s a number of key factors that are going to make this quarter as massive as expected. Starting with the iPad we’ll get our first insight into how popular the iPad mini is, whilst it’s unlikely that Apple will break out sales as a separate figure we’ll get a rough idea. Apple of course also announced a new iPad just before the start of Q113 so the company entered the quarter with a new iPad and a whole new product in the iPad mini.

The rollout of these two new iPads was unprecedented. The WiFi models of both iPad rolled out to a mammoth 34 countries on at the start of November, just three days later Apple told us that it had shifted over 3 million units. Stock of the iPad mini and to some extent of the iPad 4 has been heavily constrained throughout the entire quarter but don’t expect that to dent the numbers too noticeably.

In a similar vein the iPhone 5 only really got started during the quarter and we’ve got some insight already into just how popular that has been. Once again Apple has been ramping up its rollout around the world, by early December the iPhone 5 was available in 47 countries. That number climbed to 102 countries by the time the quarter ended. More importantly Apple hit all of its major growing markets during the quarter including Brazil, Mexico, India and China in which the company announced that it had sold two million units in the opening weekend. Supplies of the iPhone 5 were also constrained across the world for the entire quarter something that probably will have affected sales noticeably.

Estimates are yet to be fully finalised and published and as ever I will give a more concise roundup of said estimates closer to January 23 but there are some out there that expect Apple’s quarterly revenue number to top $60 billion in quarterly revenue. Yes, sixty.