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Apple Inc. Earnings Preview: Who's the Real Smartphone King Now, Buddy?

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Apple's earnings report could see it reclaim its champion status, if such a distinction even exists any more.

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So essentially, Apple preannounced a slightly better than expected quarter, though I imagine it may have left itself some wiggle room on the upside for revenues and gross margins above the guidance range. As it stands now, analysts expect Apple to report a profit of $7.92 per share on revenue of $36.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.

In terms of product mix, it's likely that Apple's expected revenues embed a weak iPad unit number due to last quarter's weakness and a slowdown ahead of the October refresh.

However, that would imply very strong iPhone numbers, which would be mathematically necessary to ensure meeting or beating guidance. There's a good chance Apple will comment on the sales mix of 5S to 5C. If, as expected, the 5S has dramatically outsold the 5C, then Apple more or less is the undisputed king of the high-end smartphone market -- for now.

As noted above, Samsung may have hit a wall. Remember, however, that although Apple is currently riding high, it hit its own wall last year, and in any case, the mobile device market has been remarkably volatile through the years, so don't count out Samsung just yet.

That brings us to December quarter guidance, which is key. According to Bloomberg, analysts are currently forecasting earnings of $13.84 per share on revenues of $55.45 billion.

And if Apple can satisfy the Street by coming in at the very least slightly below that guidance (in the name of under-promising), it can set the stage for a continuation of its big rally off the $385 April low.
Position in AAPL
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