It won’t be any surprise when Apple comes out looking like the best and brightest after it reports its quarterly earnings later today.
Thomson Reuters polled 36 analysts and found that on average, they expected Apple stock to earn $1.42 per share for the quarter. The same analysts expect revenues of $9.20 billion for the quarter and for the full-year, earnings of $5.88 per share on revenues of $35.87 billion. Nothing to shake a stick at, but neither will it shock.
What will be interesting is Apple’s first-quarter earnings for 2010 and every financial quarter thereafter. The reason? Well, if you’ve seen the recent Android commercials on TV, you know there’s a new kid on the smartphone block. And as those commercials point out, “Droid Does” as Apple’s iPhone does not.
Google’s open-source platform continues to impress with its hardware partners. Offerings from HTC and Motorola are looking more and more like possible iPhone contenders. Recent leaked screenshots of the Android-based Motorola Sholes on The Boy Genius Report’s Web site show a phone that can pretty much do everything the iPhone can do, with a few tricks of its own.
Meanwhile, Gartner predicts Android will overtake Apple in market share by 2012. Given the evidence, a shift in power may not be far from reality. Over the past six months, Android has seen an exponential growth in the number of handsets running the platform. Additionally, each of those handsets comes with the beauty of a built-in warehouse of apps (Android Market), which is supported by a strong legion of developers. It’s also the cheapest mobile platform on the market and may just be the savior of many an ailing OEM.
Granted, Apple has a proven track record of innovation in the face of adversity. It’s not going anywhere, and neither will it rest on its laurels. It’s got the capital to control pricing at a level with which few will be able to compete, as well as an app store that current estimates top out at 85,000 downloadable applications.
Nevertheless, the industry is increasingly falling in line with the FCC’s call to openness. Voices are even positing that the always cagey Apple as operating on the last leg of an antiquated business model.
For sure, it’s wait-and-see time, as Android will undoubtedly experience the growing pains associated with any platform’s coming of age. But Apple may have to endure a mid-life crisis of its own, as the Age of Open comes to smartphones in a big way.