Why Apple probably won't be caught in the FANG meltdown

  • Apple reports Q3 earnings after the bell Tuesday, following a devastating week for tech stocks.
  • The company could stand out from the FANG stocks thanks to its profitable hardware business.
  • Investors will also be watching for clues about how well the $999 iPhone X has been selling and guidance on when to expect new iPhone models in the fall.

Apple will report its fiscal third-quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday, as tech stocks continue to tank throughout a rocky earnings season.

Here's what Wall Street is expecting from Apple:

Earnings per share: $2.18, according to a Thomson Reuters estimate

Revenue: $52.34 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters estimate

iPhone unit sales: 41.79 million, according to a Factset estimate

Tech stocks have taken a hit this earnings season after misses from Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix. But thanks to its wildly profitable hardware business that's fueled by the iPhone, Apple stands apart from the FANG stocks, which are consumer online services: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google's parent company Alphabet.

For the iPhone business, investors will be looking for hints as to how well the iPhone X has been selling. The iPhone X, which starts at $999, is much more expensive that other high-end phones from rivals like Samsung and Google. Apple said following its fiscal second-quarter earnings report last spring that the iPhone X was its best-selling model, which has helped drive up the average selling price (ASP) of the category. But the iPhone ASP that quarter came in below Wall Street's expectations, suggesting that the iPhone X's high price turned away some potential buyers.

Apple's guidance could also provide clues for when the company plans to sell its new iPhone models in the fall, and how much those models will cost. Investors often look for a bump in revenue guidance as a hint that new iPhones will go on sale around mid-September each year.

Besides the iPhone, many will be looking at Apple's "Other Products" category, which includes accessories like the Apple Watch, AirPods wireless headphones and HomePod speaker. President Donald Trump's tariffs on products from China could raise prices on those gadgets, damaging the growth in an important product category as iPhone sales growth slows.