Today will be an unusually busy and complicated day for Apple fans and newshounds.
The company is just coming off its latest event marking the launch of new iPads and Macs, plus the release of the new Mac OS Yosemite.
On Friday, the company started selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus in China. And today, Apple Pay goes live. Then, after the market closes, Apple reports fourth quarter and annual earnings.
Phew. We’ll stop there to let you catch your breath.
Okay, let’s start with Apple earnings. Analyst consensus is that Apple will report $39.85 billion in fourth quarter revenue and $180.44 billion for the fiscal year ending September 2014. That would be up from $37.47 billion and $170.91 billion for the same periods one year ago.
But some analysts have quarterly estimates as high as $42.30 billion. That means some observers think those 10 million new iPhones reportedly sold on the first weekend last month may goose Apple’s earnings in a big way.
Yet with Apple, what analysts and investors tend to care about more is the road ahead. Analyst consensus is for Apple to report $63.52 billion in the current first quarter, which includes the holidays and is usually Apple’s biggest.
Analysts will be looking to see if Apple does anything to raise or lower that outlook. Apple has a lot of moving parts that could affect those results. It has the first full quarter of new iPhones, the new iPads and Macs, and now sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China.
The latter went on sale this past weekend. In some years, when Apple has launched the iPhone in China, it has revealed first weekend sales. Will it put out a press release in the morning? Or will it wait until earnings in the afternoon? China is increasingly important to Apple, and the reception of the new iPhones is being closely watched.
Of course, right in the middle of all this drama comes Apple Pay. The company has not exactly won big accolades in the past for its cloud-based services. But Apple Pay is a big deal and a chance to reset that reputation. Plus, it could create a brand new revenue stream. Already, the company says 500 banks and 220,000 stores or apps will be equipped to use Apple Pay today. But only folks using the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be able to use these payment systems.
It’s going to take time to know whether users have any interest in a digital wallet. But everyone is going to be watching and listening for signs of any hiccups today in the rollout of this critical new service.
By day’s end, it’s going to be an interesting mix of data and results that will have everyone scrambling to pass judgment, as usual, on the world’s most valuable company.