Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may not be about to share any details about its Apple Watch sales when it reveals its first quarter numbers on April 27, but the company will certainly let the public know how many iPhones it managed to sell during the three months to June. The company is still almost wholly reliant on the smartphone for revenue. Lucky then that the device is selling better than ever before.
According to Argus analyst Jim Kelleher, iPhone sales hit 56 million in the first three months of 2015. Apple records that quarter as the second of its fiscal year. That estimate came in a report published this morning, a report that raised a price target on the company’s shares to $145, up from $135.
56 million iPhones
Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 and nobody is expecting the company to have repeated that feat in the second quarter of the year. The company’s holiday quarter performance is usually much better than performance through the rest of the year, mirroring that of almost every single consumer-facing company out there.
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56 million iPhone units appears to be a sweet spot for many analysts, from the bullish to the bearish, heading into the company’s next earnings report. Alongside Mr. Kelleher, Andy Perkins at Societe Generale is looking for the same number of shipments from the March quarter as is Raymond James analyst Travis McCourt.
Both of those analysts actually downgraded Apple in their latest research on the company, while Argus, using the same estimates for iPhone shares, upgraded the company. So does the number of iPhones actually impact Apple’s shares price. Looking at the analyst recommendations it’s difficult to find a pattern.
Though they all see the same number of phones selling, Perkins has a price target of $130 on the company, with a Hold rating, McCourt removed his price target, which previously stood at $124, and put a Market Perform rating on the company, Kelleher teased with a headline $200 price target, but a twelve month price target of $145 and rates the Cupertino company at Buy.
iPhone sales get confusing
With iPhone sales at the center of every single Apple earnings report, it might be assumed that once analysts had those numbers figured out there’d be little else to discuss regarding the company’s valuation. All of the above analysts agree that the Apple Watch is immaterial for the company’s earnings.
The iPad business isn’t exactly teeming with revenue and everything else just sort of relies on massive sales of the iPhone to work. Despite that analysts can’t seem to figure out anything like a similar valuation, even with the exact same number of iPhone units in their base models.
Apple is going to reveal its actual number to the world on the afternoon of April 27. The company’s iPhone number will be the most relevant figure in deciding how to proceed in trading the firm’s shares. If Apple gets up and says it sold 56 million iPhones in the quarter, are traders going to be able to figure out how to buy and sell? Given these analysts reports, the answer may be no.