Shipments from Taiwan-based suppliers indicate that Apple had a healthy September — that’s the month it launched the new iPhone 5S and 5C.
“We estimate preliminary September sales for our Apple Barometer rose by approximately 9-10 percent month-over-month,” Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said in a research note this morning.
That’s significant, because Apple’s new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C started selling only on September 20 and quickly moved to backorder status. Traditionally, Apple has released new phones in mid summer, so the company had a chance to build more sales momentum for a longer period of time. A 10 percent sales bump for this later launch, coupled with only about 10 days of limited product availability in a limited number of launch countries would seem to indicate the new phones are selling very nicely indeed.
That doesn’t mean that Apple’s September quarter will be a knockout, however.
With limited availability and limited time to sell, Apple’s quarter will be down three to four percent sequentially, White estimates. But that’s in Apple’s guidance and outlook for the quarter — clearly, Apple knew when it would be releasing new hardware — and therefore probably not an earnings miss.
When Apple gave weak guidance for its third quarter, the company did say that its fourth would be a big one. White sees that coming true as the iPhone 5S and 5C become available in more territories and capture more sales, and as the company brings out its new full-size iPad 5.
The iPad 5, components of which have been regularly leaked over the past few weeks, looks like it may launch later this month, and, White says, will be a significant product update, with good sales prospects.
“Given our research in Taiwan over the past few days, we believe the iPad 5 has the potential to be a significant iPad upgrade cycle,” White wrote. “Given that Apple did little in the way of changing the look and feel of the past couple of iPad iterations, we believe Apple’s sizable installed base, with 155 million iPads shipped through 3Q:FY13, is ready to purchase a new full-sized iPad.”