Apple iPhone 3GS, 'Snow Leopard' Sales Should Boost Quarterly Earnings

Apple could give an upbeat quarterly report on Oct. 19, riding on strong sales of the iPhone 3GS and operating system code-named Snow Leopard. However, Apple faces a potentially strong challenge during the upcoming holiday season from Microsoft and Windows 7, its operating system due for general release on Oct. 22. Apple executives will likely not mention a long-rumored tablet PC during its earnings call.

Apple may offer a rosy outlook during its Oct. 19 quarterly earnings call, buoyed by strong iPhone 3Gs and "Snow Leopard" sales, as well as potential products in the pipeline such as a tablet PC.

According to The Wall Street Journal, quoting an analyst survey by Thomson Reuters, Apple is estimated to earn $1.42 a share on $9.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, a fairly substantial increase over the $7.9 billion earned during the same quarter in 2008.
The fourth fiscal quarter is also the first full one since the June launch of the iPhone 3GS, which sold over a million units during its first three days of release. On Oct. 9, Apple released an update for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, 3.1.2, which corrected a number of bugs that had been annoying users. In particular, the update corrected what had been derisively known among iPhone users as "coma mode," in which the smartphone refused to awaken from sleep.
On Sept. 28, Apple announced that more than 2 billion apps had been downloaded from the App Store since its launch in July 2008. The online service now catalogs about 85,000 applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

The App Store passed the 1-billion-downloads mark in April, and led other players in the mobile space such as Microsoft and Research In Motion to launch their own application stores. Over the summer, Microsoft worked to create an ecosystem of 600 applications ahead of the Oct. 6 launch of its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, but ended up with just over 240 programs by that date.

A report by AdMob on mobile phone use issued on Sept. 30 stated that the iPhone OS share of the smartphone operating system worldwide market grew from 33 percent in February to 40 percent in August. Apple's escalating rival, Google, saw the number of smartphones using its own Android operating system grow from 2 to 7 percent during the same period.

Apple will also likely announce shipment numbers for the Snow Leopard OS X update to its operating system. Released on Aug. 28, Snow Leopard had been outselling the original Leopard OS by a two-to-one margin, and outselling previous iteration Tiger by four to one, according to estimates by research company The NPD Group.

While not a total architectural makeover, the $29 Snow Leopard update brought under-the-hood refinements to the operating system, including requiring 7GB less space on the hard drive.