I got this piece of “Apple Hot News” in my inbox yesterday: “Apple today announced that pre-orders of its iPhone 5 topped two million in just 24 hours, more than double the previous record of one million held by iPhone 4S. Demand for iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply, and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October.”
What’s the profit margin on 2 million iPhones? Apple doesn’t reveal profit margins, but Reuters got hold of a document filed in Apple’s patent battle against Samsung.
According to this document, Apple’s gross margin for U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and March 2012 ranged from 49 – 58%. The iPhone 5 sells for $199 – $399 (depending on built in storage).
Let’s calculate a 58% profit margin on 2 million iPhones sold for $299. The result is $347 million. Since last Thursday’s unveiling of the new iPhone 5, Apple (AAPL) shares have risen 3.5%. This means that Apple’s market cap increased by some $24 billion.
A $24 billion increase based on the news of 2 million pre-orders worth about $347 in gross profit doesn’t make sense.
In fact, common sense and seasonality suggests that Apple is soon due for a reality check (a. k. a. lower prices). Since Apple is the MVP of the technology sector, it’s likely that the Nasdaq QQQ ETF (QQQ) and SPDR Technology ETF (XLK) will follow Apple’s direction.