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Eyes Are on iPhone Sales for Apple Q4 Earnings

Eyes Are on iPhone Sales for Apple Q4 Earnings
By Seth Fitzgerald

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Perhaps the most important set of information expected to come out from Apple in its fourth-quarter earnings report is the iPhone 5C's trajectory sales numbers. Although Apple's iPhone sales have increased as a whole, it is likely that the high-end iPhone 5S has had to pick up the iPhone 5C's slack, following the release of both devices last month.

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Apple is coming out with its fourth-quarter earnings report, which may be highlighted by an increase in iPhone sales, particularly as a result of Apple's new iPhone 5C and 5S, released last month.

The Q4 earnings and sales report will likely provide a clear picture of the smartphone marketplace and whether or not Apple's slightly cheaper iPhone 5C was a hit or not. Based upon early sales statistics, it is unlikely that the 5C will prove to be one of Apple's best-selling devices, but the report should provide a far better idea of how good or bad it really is.

Low Expectations

Despite coming out with two new smartphones, analysts seem doubtful when it comes to Apple's ability to increase its profits. Instead, the 47 analysts that have published research on Apple expect its profits to fall, compared with this time last year. These predictions are based upon an average earnings estimate of $7.92 a share.

However, it is not all bad news for Apple. The same analysts expect sales to rise by 2 percent, reaching $36.8 billion. The actual earnings report seems to be less interesting than the sales number and trajectory of the iPhone 5S and 5C. Both phones have sold well, but the 5C failed to take off in overseas countries, where analysts hoped it would become popular.

Since Apple's sales numbers are expected to increase this quarter, the company may end up having one of its strongest holiday quarters on record. While expectations for the report are low, next quarter is expected to be far stronger.

The 5C Conundrum

Perhaps the most important set of information expected to come out from Apple is the iPhone 5C's trajectory sales numbers. Although iPhone sales have increased as a whole, it is likely that the high-end iPhone 5S has had to pick up the 5C's slack, following the release of both devices last month.

Even though the report will provide some important information regarding how well the 5S and 5C have sold, both devices were only available for the last two weeks of the quarter. This means that the sales numbers will be primarily based off of opening weekend sales, which Apple says topped 9 million units.

Shortly after the phones were released, Apple pulled back orders for the 5C and bumped up its supply chain orders for the 5S. Even in countries where the 5C was expected to excel, the 5S has seemingly sold more units.

Most analysts agree that one of the main reasons for the 5C's overall lack of sales was its close proximity to the 5S's price point. Since the 5C is not significantly cheaper than the 5S, customers in China have repeatedly stated that it makes more sense to buy the high-end 5S instead of the plastic-backed and slightly cheaper 5C.

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