Apple earnings: iPhone sales and beyond

Swisher eyeing Apple Pay
Swisher eyeing Apple Pay   

Apple has had a busy few weeks revealing a slew of new hardware and software products, but now it has one more thing to announce: earnings.

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The tech giant is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Monday and investors, first and foremost, will be looking for that key iPhone sales number.

But they will also be trying to read the tea leaves from all of the company's other recent product announcements that didn't roll out during its fiscal fourth quarter, including how Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will impact business.

All about the iPhone 6

iPhone 6 display
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
iPhone 6 display

It was a big quarter for the company. In September it launched both the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus. It also revealed a long-awaited smart watch and announced it is getting into the mobile payments business with Apple Pay.

But the rollout of the iPhone 6 models is the only bit of news that will impact earnings for the September quarter, as Apple Pay launches on Monday and the Apple Watch is expected early next year.

While the iPhone 6 devices did not go on sale until near the end of the third quarter, it is still likely the new models will be the key driver for earnings. Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units during the first weekend of sales, and on Thursday CEO Tim Cook said at a company event that the devices had become the "fastest selling iPhones in history."

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"The first 30 days we have set a new high-water mark for the most orders taken, and I don't mean by a little, I mean by a lot, a whole lot," Cook said.

Last year during the fourth quarter Apple sold 37.18 million iPhones and generated $37.5 billion. Morgan Stanley estimates iPhone demand for the quarter at about 37 million units, according to a recent note.

Analysts, as of Friday, were expecting the company to post earnings of $1.30 per share on revenue of $39.85 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Those numbers represent 11 percent and 6 percent increases year over year, respectively.

Apple's guidance for revenue for the fourth quarter is $37 billion to $40 billion with margins of 37 to 38 percent.

Looking ahead

Looking beyond the quarter, Apple's rollout of the iPhone 6 in other countries, especially in China, will continue to drive growth, said Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a recent note.

"We think investors should remain long Apple through year-end as we anticipate material revenue and possibly gross margins upside vs. expectations driven by favorable iPhone 6 dynamics beyond just strong units," he said.

"The smartphone space is currently a two-horse race where Apple will be one of the winners in continuing to gain market share," Daryanani, who has a $114 price target with an 'outperform' rating, said.

But investors will also be trying to gauge just how much of a catalyst for growth Apple's new mobile payments system and its new smart watch may be going forward, analysts said.

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"Any meaningful success of Apple Pay and Apple Watch could increase the number of upgrade relative to past cycles," Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a recent note.

In fact, it's possible this iPhone cycle could last into 2016, Huberty, who has a $110 price target with an 'outperform' rating on the stock, said.

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson.