During Apple's 2Q16 earnings conference call, management will continue to sow a new narrative around the company. With hardware unit sales slowing across the board, management is focusing on recurring revenue streams and iOS customer transaction values.
Exhibit 1: Above Avalon's AAPL 2Q16 Estimates
Given management's revenue guidance, Apple will report its first quarterly iPhone unit sales decline. The only question remaining is, just how bad was the drop? As seen in Exhibit 2, an iPhone unit sales decline of 10% to 17% would fall within my expectation range with the center point being a 13% drop from last year. It is important to note that the iPhone SE will be a 3Q16 earnings event given the device's launch timing.
Exhibit 2: 2Q16 iPhone Expectation Meter
The unit sales declines are expected to extend to both iPad and Mac. Given my analysis regarding recent iPad sales mix, my 9M iPad unit sales estimate implies a dramatic 27% drop in sales from last year. This is made that much more worse considering the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was released a few months ago, not to mention the iPad category had already fallen 23% last year. The iPad business has essentially been cut in half. Similar to the iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be a 3Q16 earnings event given its launch timing. As for the Mac, it is still possible Apple may just barely squeak out unit sales growth.
Exhibit 3: 2Q16 iPad and Mac Expectation Meters
Regarding Apple Watch, Apple's pattern has been to not disclose any actual revenue or unit sales data. Instead, management has chosen to provide subtle clues or hints as to how Apple Watch has performed. It is possible we may get a broad comment as to how Watch sales have done in the new year. As shown in Exhibit 4, Apple's "Other Products" revenue line item can be converted into Apple Watch unit sales. The usual caveat is that this table assumes an Apple Watch ASP of $425 (lower than previous quarters) and that accessories revenue amounted to $1.6 billion.
Exhibit 4: 2Q16 Other Products and Apple Watch Expectation Meters
As is the case with every Apple earnings report, most investor attention and focus will be put on management's guidance for 3Q16. Expectations over the past few months had Apple's 2Q16 showing the weakest year-over-year revenue performance from an optics perspective. However, in recent weeks, there has been growing concern that Apple's 3Q16 would also show a substantial revenue decline. My expectation is for Apple to guide revenue to -5% and -11%.
Exhibit 5: 3Q16 Revenue and Gross Margin Guidance Expectation Meters
As seen by my 2Q16 AAPL earnings expectation meters, Wall Street is expecting an all-around weak earnings report from Apple. Accordingly, investors will be looking for any surprises that help shed light on how current iPhone sales have been trending following the iPhone SE launch. The $400 iPhone 5s successor may end up representing the one bright spot in an otherwise difficult stretch for Apple regarding hardware unit sales growth.
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