Apple makes its blockbuster Fall kinda official

Apple logo (space 001)

If there ever was any doubt fresh Apple gadgets were coming this Fall, one just needs to read between the lines of what Apple’s finance boss Peter Oppenheimer said during June quarter conference call with analyst. In a Q&A Session, the exec hinted at a “very busy Fall”.

The statement echoes a recent note by a reliable analyst who projected a flurry of Apple product launches throughout September and into late-October. When pressed to explain himself, Oppenheimer dodged giving a straight answer by insisting on leaving it there and instead “go into more detail in October.” Touché, Pete, touché indeed!

The full Oppenheimer quote:

We are on track to have a very busy Fall. I would like to leave it there and go into more detail in October.

Going into “more detail in October” could be a code-word for an Apple media event in a few weeks time. It’s also the first time, at least to my knowledge, for any Apple exec to pledge to any vaguely specific timeframe concerning unreleased products, especially while discussing earnings.

Apple has gotten away without launching a major new product for eight months now. That being said, we’re expecting a fifth-generation iPad, a seventh-generation iPhone and Haswell-driven iMac/MacBook Pro updates real soon.

And yes, that mid-range plastic iPhone, too.

Apple shipments timetable (H22012, KGI Securities 001)

Discussing Apple’s business model, CEO Tim Cook said (emphasis mine):

We’re here to make good products.

We think that if we focus on that and do that really well, the financial metrics will come.

We start at the product because we believe that the most important thing is that our customers love the products and want them.

Our key catalysts will always be new products and new services in existing and new categories.

“New categories” might include an alleged Apple smartwatch and a full-on television set.

iWatch concept (Maps, Martin Hajek 004)

“We’re working on some stuff that we’re really proud of, and we’ll announce things when we’re ready,” Cook teased further.

In all likelihood (and in spite of DigiTimes), we won’t see a Retina iPad mini until the first quarter of 2014 as Apple and its suppliers tackle battery and performance challenges that stem from packing four times the pixels onto the 7.9-inch display area.

For the three-month period ended June 30, Apple saw its iPod, Mac and iPad sales shrink year-over-year, with only the iPhone growing to 31.2 million units sold, up over 26 million a year ago.

Apple Q212 (sales by product category)

Some bloggers gloated as Samsung made $1.43 billion more in profit than Apple. Indeed, whereas the iPhone maker made a net profit of $6.9 billion during the June quarter, its rival Samsung reported making $8.33 billion.

The factoid prompted click-hungry BGR to run a write-up under the SEO-friendly headline “Samsung is now the most profitable consumer electronics company in the world”.

This couldn’t be farther from truth: the $8.9 billion in Samsung Electronics profits came from a crazy vast array of products, not just smartphones.

For the sake of correctness, Samsung Electronics builds phones, tablets and TV sets, in addition to a wide range of consumer electronics parts like lithium-ion batteries, semiconductors, chips, solid-state storage, NAND flash chips and hard drive devices.

All told, Samsung Electronics has assembly plants and sales networks in 88 countries and employs around 370,000 people.

Surprisingly enough, the otherwise sensationalist SAI went with a more toned-down headline which correctly states that “Samsung made $1.43 billion more in profit than Apple last quarter.”

Your notes of interest from the earnings call are right here.

So, what are you expecting from Apple’s busy Fall?