A lot of chatter regarding "deferred revenue" lately. Mostly because Apple highlighted the potential benefits to be seen in later quarters in the recent conference call. The gross margin forecast for Q1 was not as high as some analysts were expecting, so obviously questions were asked. The answer: it will be seen in the March quarter. The degree of benefit was not answered.
As highlighted from a recent Daniel Eran Dilger article, Apple now has a lot of deferred revenue.
With the share buy backs, and now this, Apple has created a potential 50cent swing in earnings power and partial lever on revenue. Its a nice position to be in. (Google used their ability to manipulate their tax rate, Apple now has the above.)
IMO, the current street estimates are already a bit low, and the above levers will help Apple to handle the street.
Also a quick take home:
Another positive sign on gross margin is the cost of the iPad Air. Margins for the device should come in at least 45% (excluding the mini), and given the jump in perceived sales (here, here, and here), Apple has more wind on its back.