Apple plans to ship more than 8 million MacBook Air computers in the third quarter of 2011, DigiTimes claims in a new report on Friday. The number represents more than twice the total number of Mac computers Apple shipped during its fiscal second quarter. DigiTimes‘ report cites sources within Apple’s supply chain in stating that combined MacBook production was ramped up to 2.2-2.4 million units in June, and Apple is expected to yield 2.7-2.8 million units in July. The Cupertino-based company is expected to release refreshed MacBook Air models ahead of the release of its new Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, and the notebooks should feature Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt I/O ports. The anticipated spec boost is expected to cause a surge in MacBook Air sales, but a target of 8 million units in a single quarter doesn’t seem terribly realistic; Apple shipped a total of 3.76 million Mac units in its March quarter, including its MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Pro lines. Unless Apple also plans to announce a drastic price reduction when it unveils its new MacBook Air PCs in the coming weeks, we don’t see the company coming anywhere close to shipping 8 million units next quarter. More →
Sales of Apple’s iPad 2 tablet are set to explode in the third quarter according to Hong Kong-based research firm CLSA. Citing LCD sales data from DisplaySearch, the firm thinks Apple will unload 14.4 million iPad 2 tablets in the third quarter this year, well above the consensus of between 10 and 12 million units. But nothing is set in stone and Apple has widely missed iPad sales estimates in the past, though those misses were due largely to supply constraints. “Keep in mind that AAPL has missed iPad consensus in 2 out of the last 3 quarters, even when supply chain forecasts were higher,” the firm’s note warns. If CLSA’s research is accurate, we can also expect Apple to launch a 4G LTE-compatible iPad model ahead of the holidays this year.
Despite respectable sales in its first quarter of availability, RIM has reportedly slashed internal sales estimates for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. RIM announced during its earnings call last week that it had shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets to retail partners during the fiscal first quarter of 2012. The figure didn’t quite match the 1 million mark that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab crossed after just two months, but it outsold Motorola’s XOOM tablet and beat estimates issued by several analysts. According to DigiTimes, however, RIM had very high hopes for its virgin tablet offering. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company had an internal goal of shipping between 2.4 and 2.5 million units during the second quarter. In light of lower than expected sales between the tablet’s launch in mid-April and the end of the fiscal first quarter, RIM has reportedly revised its second-quarter estimates down to 800,000 – 900,000 units. More →
HP finally revealed a launch date and pricing for its TouchPad tablet on Thursday and we have to say, we’re pretty excited. It’s no mystery that we’re fans of webOS, and we were definitely impressed with the device during our hands-on in San Francisco. JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz argues that consumers in general aren’t quite as excited as we are, however, and he doesn’t see HP’s maiden tablet voyage attracting buyers away from Apple’s iPad 2. “While we expect HP’s webOS platform to be a differentiating factor compared to the many Android tablets expected to reach the market, we do not think the price points on the TouchPad are aggressive enough to attract the incremental buyer from the iPad,” Moskowitz wrote in a note to investors. “Plus, the lack of wireless connectivity and limited storage options are a setback. We will look to additional data points as the TouchPad hits the market in coming weeks, but for now, we are lukewarm.”
In a note to investors on Thursday, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva cut his rating on shares of RIM stock from Buy to Hold, dropping his price target from $80 to $45. Suva had upgraded his rating on RIM shares from Sell to Buy back in February on the assumption that the Waterloo, Ontario-based company would take advantage of Nokia’s plummeting market share. “We believe RIMM is letting this opportunity slip,” the analyst said on Thursday. Suva continued, ”Thus far our supply chain checks show that RIMM’s new models have not yet been certified by major wireless carriers and are not in mass production, which concerns us as typically 30-40 days prior to launch new product should be in mass production.” Earlier this month, BGR exclusively reported that RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone will not launch until September, despite its unveiling at BlackBerry World this past May. More →
In a note to investors on Thursday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White raised his earlier projection for iPhone shipments in the June quarter. Following discussions with contacts in Taipei, White believes stable demand bolstered by the launch of the white iPhone 4 will now drive flat quarter-over-quarter iPhone shipments. The analyst had previously estimated that shipments would be down 15% compared to the second quarter. With the launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone seemingly pushed back from June/July time frame, White says he is not seeing the typical pause in demand that has historically occurred in the June quarter. On the launch of Apple’s next iPhone, Ticonderoga is “picking up data points that suggest initial production at certain iPhone component suppliers will begin in July with volume production planned in August for the next-generation iPhone, supporting our view of a September launch.”
RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky believes RIM has sold approximately 250,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to date. In a note to investors on Wednesday, the analyst points to channel checks in stating PlayBook sales have remained steady since the device’s launch on April 19th. If these estimates are accurate, RIM’s PlayBook is handily outselling the XOOM , Motorola’s flagship Honeycomb tablet, which sold 250,000 units in its first two months of availability. Abramsky believes RIM could move 500,000 units during RIM’s fiscal first quarter, though we would note that RIM’s current pace is way off RBC’s initial projections of 4 million units in 2011 and 6 million units total in the PlayBook’s first 12 months of availability. RBC later lowered its projections down to 3 million units in 2011 but at the current pace of 250,000 units per month, RIM is on track to sell just over 2 million units this year. Abramsky also notes that BlackBerry smartphone sales are slowing according to checks, and he now projects shipments to decline 9% from last quarter to 13.5 million units, which is in line with guidance. More →
Market research firm NPD Group this week revealed the findings of its recent report entitled, Apple iPad Owner Study II. Among the interesting findings contained within NPD’s research is the revelation that the iPad isn’t responsible for the current decline in the traditional consumer PC market — at least, not according to NPD and its respondents. Research firm IDC estimates that the PC market dipped by over 10% in the U.S. last quarter, and 3.2% globally. In reporting its estimates, IDC said that these declines were due to factors other than the rising popularity of the iPad and other “media tablets.” NPD Group’s new report jibes with that sentiment, as the firm claims that only 14% of early iPad adopters decided against purchasing a traditional PC as a result of their tablet purchases. “The explosion of computer sales when Windows 7 launched, as well as the huge increase in netbook sales at that time, are much more to blame for weak consumer PC sales growth than the iPad,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. “Overall it appears that the vast majority of iPad purchases to-date have been incremental to the consumer technology industry.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Smartphones’ share of the global cell phone market is poised to explode over the next four years, according to market research firm Pyramid Research. The firm on Friday released the findings of its latest Smartphone Forecast, as compiled by Senior Analyst and Practice Leader for Mobile Devices, Stela Bokun. Bokun determined that global smartphone sell-through — or, the number of smartphones sold to end users — will total 1.46 billion units in 2011, accounting for 27% of all cell phones sold. Pyramid expects that figure to nearly double to 53% in 2015, driven by growing demand for affordable Android smartphones. “Much of the projected total market growth in 2011 will come from the Africa and Middle East (AME) region, which will see a strong demand for low-end smartphone models, ultra low-cost handsets and dual-SIM and full touch-screen feature phones,” Bokun noted in a statement. “The main drivers of the demand in the developed markets will be the launches of a number of flagship high-end devices and new features and technologies. However, inexpensive smartphone models, particularly those from Huawei and ZTE, also will be in high demand in some of the richest Western European, Asian and North American markets.” Finally, Bokun notes that while smartphone sales will be driven in large part by Android over the next four years, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will overtake Android and other operating systems to become the top-selling smartphone platform in the world in 2015.
Asymco’s Horace Dediu has a long history of pegging Apple earnings, and on Monday morning the analyst issued his revenue and EPS estimates for Apple’s third fiscal quarter of 2011. Dediu expects Apple to outpace its guidance, as usual, which the company set at 47% revenue growth and 43% EPS growth last week. Based on significant year-over-year growth projected in every key segment other than its iPod business, Dediu expects revenue growth of 65% to $25.8 billion and EPS growth of 72% to $6.02. Regarding product lines, the analyst sees Apple’s third-quarter breaking down as follows:
- iPhone units: 14.7 million (75%)
- Macs: 4.3 million (25%)
- iPads: 9.8 million (200%)
- iPods: 10.1 million (-15%)
- Music (incl. app) rev. growth: 25%
- Peripherals rev. growth: 25%
- Software rev. growth: 25%
Apple sold just 4.69 million iPads last quarter, falling short of analyst estimates ranging from 6 to 8 million. It is widely believed that the low sales were due to supply constraints, and Dediu believes that Apple will iron out these issues. The iPad 2 will also launch in several new countries this quarter, and coupled with supply that might finally come closer to meeting demand, Dediu sees third-quarter iPad sales ballooning 200% year-over-year to 9.8 million units. More →
Following RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky’s lead, JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz on Friday raised his revenue and EPS estimates for Apple’s 2011 fiscal second quarter. RBC upped its second-quarter revenue estimate from $23 billion to $24 billion on Tuesday, citing pent up iPad demand and strong sales of the Verizon iPhone 4 and newer laptop lines. On Friday, JP Morgan’s Moskowitz wrote in a note to investors that iPhone shipments in the quarter were likely stronger than expected thanks to the launch of the Verizon model and the addition of new sales channels for the GSM version of the popular smartphone. As such, he upped second-quarter estimate from 16.6 million units shipped to 18.4 million. Moskowitz raised his revenue estimate for the quarter to $24.42 billion from his earlier estimate of $23.83 billion, and adjusted his EPS estimate to $5.39 from $5.21. Apple will report its earnings for the March quarter on April 20th.
Internet juggernaut Google has released its financial results from the first-quarter of 2011, and things are looking pretty good. The company posted revenues of $8.58 billion during the quarter — which represents a 27% increase year-over-year — with $5.88 billion of that figure being generated by Google-owned websites. The company failed to meet Wall Street’s earning expectations, however, coming in $0.03 shy of the predicted $8.11 earnings per share. “These results demonstrate the value of search and search ads to our users and customers, as well as the extraordinary potential of areas like display and mobile,” said Patrick Pichette, the company’s CFO. “It’s clear that our past investments have been crucial to our success today–which is why we continue to invest for the long term.” said Patrick Pichette, the company’s CFO. The company’s stock was trading down nearly 5% in after-hours trading at time of article writing. The full Q1 report is after the break. More →
In a note to investors on Friday, RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky attempts to put Research In Motion’s fourth-quarter earnings and first-quarter guidance in perspective. RIM reported its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings after the bell on Thursday and shares of RIM stock subsequently plummeted by as much as 12% in after hours trading. Most of the concern seemed to surround RIM’s guidance for the first-quarter of its 2012 fiscal year. Abramsky points out that while investors may be concerned by RIM’s guidance, it likely reflects product transitions rather than intensifying competition. He notes that new product launches and future support for Android applications will help restore confidence in RIM moving forward. While RBC does identify several possible barrier such as a general decline in technology valuations, unknown market acceptance of new products and declining average selling prices of BlackBerry smartphones, the firm reiterates its $90 price target for RIM stock.