In the following video, senior technology analyst Eric Bleeker talks some interesting storylines in Apple's upcoming earnings on Thursday.
First up is Mac sales. While the Mac doesn't contribute to Apple's sales in a way either the iPad or iPhone do, it could see some weakness this quarter. Gartner estimated PC sales were off 8% last quarter and PC-reliant companies have felt the pain, with Intel and Microsoft both posting poor earnings last week. While Apple is holding up better than the PC industry in general, even its own computers aren't immune to the disruption its tablets are causing the industry.
While iPhone sales are always an important area to watch, the iPhone 5's limited sales time in Apple's fiscal fourth quarter means the upcoming holiday quarter is more meaningful in assessing its demand. One area that could be of interest with the iPhone is upcoming guidance. Apple always lowballs its guidance, but there's an important difference between the holiday quarter this year and last: iPhone launch timing. Last year, Apple barely released the iPhone in Brazil in the holiday quarter and didn't launch in China until January. This year, it's widely expected Apple will have a global rollout, with its phones available in 100 countries by the end of the year. More aggressive guidance could hint not only at the strength of demand for the phone, but also that Apple's aggressive launch schedule will leave plenty of time to sell to important markets like China in the next quarter.
Finally, Eric says he's most interested in iPad sales and comments about the iPad Mini. While Apple will have its entire announcement tomorrow to laud the tablet, its post-earnings conference calls give Tim Cook and company a pulpit where they can talk more about the strategic implications of their new tablet.
To see Eric's full thoughts, watch the video.
Eric Bleeker has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.