2 Bullish News Bites Leading Up to Apple Inc's Q3 Earnings

Apple's iPhone 5s is outpacing the competition and could result in a great fiscal Q3 for the company.

Chris Neiger
Chris Neiger
Jul 8, 2014 at 5:00PM
Technology and Telecom

The iPhone 5s is outpacing the competition according to ABI Research. Source: Apple.

We're still a couple of weeks away from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) fiscal Q3 2014 earnings report, but that hasn't stopped some preliminary good news from surfacing for the iPhone maker. Let's take a quick look at the two things that Apple investors should be happy with leading up to the July 22 earnings report.

Source: ABI Research.

iPhone still on top
ABI Research just released data this week showing the 16GB iPhone 5s was the most popular smartphone in calendar Q1 2014. The rankings include the top 20 smartphones, with the 5s taking the top spot and the 8GB iPhone 4S taking No. 5. Not surprisingly, Samsung's Galaxy lineup filled in the gap between the two.

While the iPhone 5s boasted some significant new features, like Touch ID, it wasn't a complete redesign of the iPhone 5. This is significant as Apple is expected to completely revamp its iPhone lineup this fall, with the launch of a 4.7-inch and possibly 5.5-inch iPhones.

Considering the iPhone 5s' success, it's not unrealistic to think the redesigned iPhone 6 models -- with larger form factors and new features -- could continue that trend.

How the analysts see it
ABI's data isn't the only indicator the iPhone was finding its way into consumers' hands. Tech Trader Daily reported this week that Pacific Crest's Apple analyst, Andy Hargreaves, raised his fiscal Q3 iPhone sales estimates from 35 million up to 36 million, and increased full-year 2015 iPhone estimates from 175 million to 191 million.

The increase comes partially as Hargreaves believes the strong-selling iPhone 4S will be phased out soon to make room for the newer devices -- including, what he believes, will be a $299 on contract iPhone with 5.5-inch display.

Those estimates come as Horace Dediu, from Asymco, thinks Apple will outpace its revenue and hit $38.6 million for the quarter, with iPhone sales at 33.7 million.

Here's the tweet with his estimates:

Though all this information could be good, there's obviously more Apple investors need to consider.

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Foolish takeaway
First of all, we need to remember that quarterly earnings are just a snapshot of a company's larger financial picture. So if the earnings are a snapshot, then the analyst estimates of earnings are just are a blurred perspective of that snapshot. That's not to say they aren't helpful, but making long-term investing decisions based on them isn't the best strategy.

But the ABI Research combined with the analyst notes do point to a larger trend of solid iPhone sales for calendar Q1 2014, and that should be good news for investors. As Apple readies a larger iPhone (or two) the strong-selling iPhone 5s will continue to bring in long-tail revenue for the company even if it's replaced by newer models. Considering how well the iPhone 4S is still selling for Apple, it's clear the company still has years to benefit from its current flagship device.