Horace Dediu is back in the Apple earnings estimates game

For the first time in a year, the once and future king of Apple analysts is publishing quarterly estimates.

From “Apple’s Fourth Calendar Quarter 2020,” posted on Asymco Thursday:

As a rule, I don’t like to make a forecast for Apple’s performance during quarters where there is no guidance. There is a good reason why there is no guidance. The management does not feel confident that there is enough information to make a reasonable prediction. Keep in mind that the management has very detailed, very frequent updates on their business metrics…

When guidance is given, it’s usually a month into the next quarter. The company will have already seen about a third of the quarter already pass before they predict the next two thirds…

Here is what was said about three months ago:

These directional comments assume that COVID-related impacts to our business in November and December are similar to what we’ve seen in October. […] [W]e expect iPhone revenue to grow during the December quarter despite shipping iPhone 12 and 12 Pro 4 weeks into the quarter and iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max 7 weeks into the quarter.

We expect all other products in aggregate to grow double digits, and we also expect services to continue to grow double digits. For gross margin, we expect it to be similar to our most recent quarters despite the costs associated with the launch of several new products. For opex, we expect to be between $10.7 billion and $10.8 billion. We expect OI&E to be around $50 million and the tax rate to be around 16%. — Luca Maestri, Chief Financial Officer

So, given this information and some hints from IDC, Gartner and CIRP and China I’m willing to offer some estimates:

    • iPhone Revenue: $63.9 billion
    • Mac Revenue: $9.3 billion
    • iPad: $7.4 billion
    • Services: $15.1 billion
    • Wearables & Home: $12 billion
    • Net sales: $107.8 billion
    • Gross margin percent: 37.7%
    • EPS: $1.48 (Growth: 19%)

Of course, this is very speculative and I don’t have a lot of confidence in it. If anything it may be on the high side.

I don’t expect there to be guidance for the next quarter with a resumption of guidance only after the pandemic has largely subsided (probably Q3 of this year.)

My take: Dediu’s estimates will be part of the my Q1 2021 Apple Earnings Smackdown. He’s also scheduled for an Apple 3.0 ask-me-anything Zoom after the 1/27/21 quarterly report, but that first-come-first-served subscriber event is fully booked. I’m open to suggestion for future guests.


  1. Troy Thoman said:
    Despite there being a shortage of phones and it being the first quarter of availability I can’t imagine the GM being so low. By all accounts, services and Mac sales are doing great which are the highest margin things Apple sells.

    January 14, 2021
  2. Dan Scropos said:
    “ I’m open to suggestion for future guests.”

    Rod Hall—I’d love to hear his in-depth take on future earnings, products, buybacks, Services and what he believes is a fair multiple. I’m hard pressed to hear a logical path to $75, but I’m open to listening to him.

    As accurate as he is with quarterly earnings, I just cannot figure out where the disconnect is with his price target. He sees what we see, but he has a vastly different take on what Gregg Thurman so aptly call investor sentiment index (multiple). I think I said that right.

    Lastly, I’d love for the smarter folks in this group to challenge him with thought provoking questions. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d like to see him squirm a little!

    January 14, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I have zero interest in hearing Mr Hall.

      Now an interview with Toni S where we could ask challenging questions might be worth it.

      January 14, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    I have adjusted my revenue and earnings estimates for the December quarter 2020.

    Revenue – $104.6 Billion
    EPS – $1.46

    January 14, 2021
  4. John Butt said:
    Interesting, my estimate on Estimise which was placed on January 6th is also $1.48 EPS but I have $106B revenue.

    January 14, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      WoW. We could be brothers. LOL

      What’s your estimize screen name?

      January 14, 2021
  5. Bill Haymaker said:
    Daniel Eran Dilger. His view of the Apple silicon future direction and Apples forward direction.

    January 14, 2021
  6. Michael Goldfeder said:
    You never know until you ask, but how about the largest Apple shareholder; “Warren Buffet?”

    We could pitch in and buy him a case of Cherry Coke as an incentive.

    January 15, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Or either of his two lieutenants Todd Combs and Ted Weschler

      January 15, 2021

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