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Keep an Eye on iPhone 8 Hints, Macs and Services as Apple Reports Earnings

Just 38% of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) calendar 2016 iPhone revenue was recorded during its June and September quarters. And between expectations of an iPhone 8 "super-cycle" and reports that Apple's next-gen flagship phone is seeing production delays that could lead initial shipments to be pushed back to October, there's a good chance the percentage will be lower still this year.

Thus while the iPhone remains by far Apple's largest business even this time of the year, it's a period when near-term iPhone sales matter less to markets than expectations for how upcoming models will be received. And during which other Apple revenue streams -- especially its Mac and Services businesses, each of which saw double-digit growth last quarter -- play a bigger role in determining whether the company beats near-term expectations.

On average, analysts polled by FactSet expect Apple to report June quarter (fiscal third quarter) revenue of $44.9 billion (up 6% annually) and GAAP EPS of $1.57 (up 11%). For the September quarter, consensus is for revenue of $49.2 billion (up 5%) and EPS of $1.81 (up 8%); Apple typically provides quarterly sales guidance in its earnings report.

June quarter iPhone sales are expected to total $25.5 billion -- up 6% annually thanks to the 23% sales decline recorded in the year-ago quarter due to weak iPhone 6S demand. Unit sales are expected to be flat at 55 million, but average selling price (ASP) is expected to be up $26 to $621 due to a greater mix of flagship iPhone sales.

Any details that are shared or can be teased out about Apple's expectations for iPhone 8/7S production and sales are bound to get close attention. Apple, of course, tends to be pretty tight-lipped about its product plans. But September quarter guidance, and the commentary surrounding it, could provide some clue...


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