Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reports its quarterly financial earnings later today, and analysts expect the period to be a record one for the iPhone vendor. According to a Forbes tally of professional analysts, Apple's quarterly sales are generally expected to increase 7.1 percent and its earnings are expected to increase 11.9 percent. In addition, the company is expected to report a 12 percent jump in iPhone sales to 37.8 million.
Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, will include initial sales of the company's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which went on sale Sept. 19. Apple said it sold more than 10 million units of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus after the gadgets' debut sales weekend, surpassing the 9 million units Apple sold last year during the opening weekend of the iPhone 5s and 5c.
According to the Wall Street Journal, analysts expect Apple to report revenue of $39.84 billion, notably up from the $37.5 billion Apple reported in the same quarter a year ago. Apple in July forecast it would report revenues of between $37 billion and $40 billion.
However, analysts expect Apple's iPad slump to continue. According to Forbes, analysts on average expect Apple to report sales of 13.17 million iPads during its most recent quarter--figures that would mark the third quarter in a row of sluggish iPad sales. Apple has acknowledged its iPad sales slowdown, but has predicted the business will continue to grow. Apple just last week announced its new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which are slated to go on sale this week.
In other Apple news, the company today is launching its Apple Pay service across the country, with support from 500 financial institutions and dozens of big-name retailers including McDonald's, Whole Foods and Walgreens. But, as the Wall Street Journal notes, Apple Pay still faces a number of obstacles. For example, the service does not yet support credit cards issued by retailers. The WSJ reported that Macy's would eventually add its Macy's branded credit card to the Apple Pay system--an important step since Macy's said that half of its sales come from its proprietary card.
"We're trying to do something that I think is a game changer and it requires a lot of people to play together," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president in charge of Internet software and services, told the WSJ. "There's a lot to do here and we have a lot of work to do, but it should be huge."
Finally, according to a report from Re/code, Apple is working to reduce the cost of its Beats Music streaming music service from $10 a month to $5 per month. The price cut could happen alongside a relaunch and rebranding of Beats Music, though Re/code noted that the details are still under negotiation.
Apple's argument to record labels for the Beats Music price cut, according to Re/code, is that it would actually generate more revenues from heavy iTunes users. According to the publication, iTunes fans spend around $60 a year on music, or about $5 a month, and a streaming subscription at that price would then make any additional music downloads an increase in revenues.
Rumors have indicated that Apple is considering changes to the Beats Music service it acquired as part of its $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, but it's unclear exactly how and when those changes will be implemented.
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