“In January, when Apple (AAPL) reported its earnings for the December quarter — its first fiscal quarter of 2013 — the company made explicit a change most investors seem to have missed,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.
“For years Apple had been low-balling Wall Street, offering revenue and earnings forecasts every three months so ‘conservative’ they became a running joke,” P.E.D. reports. “Then, last March, something changed… In January, CFO Peter Oppenheimer addressed the issue, albeit somewhat inscrutably: ‘In recent years,” he told analysts, “our guidance reflected a conservative estimate of results every quarter that we had reasonable confidence in achieving. Going forward we plan to provide a range of guidance that reflects our belief of what we’re likely to achieve. Well we cannot forecast with complete accuracy we believe we’re likely to report within the range of guidance we provide. Therefore for the March quarter we’re providing revenue guidance of between $41 billion and $43 billion compared to $39.2 billion in the year ago quarter.'”
P.E.D. reports, “The difference between ‘belief’ and ‘reasonable confidence’ is a subtle one, but the analysts who follow the company seem to have got the message. The forecasts from the 61 analysts we polled — 38 professionals and 23 amateurs — are as tightly packed as we’ve ever seen them.”
Full article, with the full list of individual analyst’s revenue and earnings numbers, here.