Apple's Market Stability Shown with Verizon's Four Million iPhone Activations
Although the growth of the iPhone may be slowing down when compared to before, Apple’s largely profitable smartphone franchise doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. This was made clear by the latest on-target activation numbers at Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless carrier. The iPhone represented more than half of all smartphone activations at Verizon in the March quarter, reaching almost 56%. The share is an increase from the same quarter a year ago when the iPhone was 51% of Verizon smartphone activations.
Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says that Verizon’s results “show stability in iPhone’s franchise in the U.S.” – something he believes should be viewed as a comforting positive to investors in AAPL stock. Munster also projects that Apple sold 35.5 million iPhones in its March quarter, an estimate which is just slightly lower than Wall Street expectations of 37 million units. The analyst noted that the big “wild card” leading up to Apple’s earnings report is international iPhone sales.
Verizon recently reported that about half of the 4 million iPhone activations it saw were LTE models. It should be noted that currently only one iPhone model offers 4G LTE connectivity: the iPhone 5.
According to Munster, a 50-50 split between the iPhone 5 and the legacy iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 could imply a slightly weaker average selling price on iPhones for the March quarter according to Munster. He had instead expected the iPhone to account for about 60% of total iPhone sales. If the iPhone 5 represented 50% of total iPhone sales outside of Verizon, he believes it could mean a 4% downside to his projected $625 average selling price. This would lower the ASP of the iPhone to $600 for the March quarter.
All of these estimates and the speculation for Apple’s March quarter will soon come to an end, when the company will report earnings for its second fiscal quarter of 2013 on Tuesday April 23. Earnings are said to be reported once the markets close with a conference call with members of Apple’s executive team.
Source: Piper Jaffray