AAPL Financial News Weekly Roundup: Apple to Release Q2 Earnings, Environmental Report Posted and More

Apple to announce Q2 FY 2015 earnings on April 27.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stocks performed well last week, gaining about 3.8% after opening Monday at $125.57 and closing Friday at $130.28. At the time of this writing, share prices are about $132.70, which is approaching Apple's high of $133.60, which was reached during trading on February 24, earlier this year. Chances are that share value will surpass that high mark soon, as Apple is set to release its Q2 FY 15 earnings after the market closes today, 5:00 PM EDT, 2:00 PM PDT. You can listen to streaming audio of the second quarter results conference call here.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a strong track record in these matters, has released his Q2 earnings estimates in a note to investors. He believes Apple will report about 58.2 million iPhone sales, which is a 21.8% decline from the previous quarter, but still represents a 33.3% year-over-year increase. He sees a precipitous 38.1% year-over-year decline for iPad sales, but believes Mac sales will be up 10% YOY, thanks to the 12-inch MacBook. He thinks Mac sales will continue to be strong and forecasts a 25.3% YOY increase for the next quarter. He expects Apple to post Watch sales of about 630,000 and forecasts sales in the 3.8 million neighborhood for the following quarter. (If there is any confusion here, Apple's fiscal year is September 28 to September 26; KGI refers to Apple's Q2 as Q1 of the standard fiscal year).

Those who pre-ordered the Apple Watch began receiving their devices on Friday. Demand has outstripped supply so far, which has prompted some analysts to raise their sales forecast for the product. Ming-Chi believes the company will ship between 15 and 20 million units in 2015. In preparation for launch, Apple opened its Watch-dedicated App Store on Thursday with over 3,000 apps.

In another note to investors last Wednesday, Ming-Chi Kuo expressed doubt that an updated 4-inch iPhone model would come to market this year, due to still strong sales of the iPhone 5s. He does, however, believe that one will debut in 2016 and that it will have an NFC chip to facilitate point-of-sale Apple Pay purchases.

A report from Bloomberg last week confirmed that Apple has boosted its lobbying efforts in Washington. The company reportedly spent $1.24 million in the first three months of 2015, compared to $1.07M over the same period in 2014. The increase is likely due to advocating "issues relating to mobile payments."

Apple released its annual Environmental Responsibility Report last Monday, in which the company highlighted three priorities. Apple intends to "Reduce [its] impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in [its] products," focus on resource conservation, and pioneer the use of green materials and processes. As evidence of its efforts, Apple also revealed on Monday that 360 of its Apple Stores now run on green energy.

Reports surfaced last week that Nokia wants to sell its HERE mapping product, and that Apple is one of its potential customers. It seems unlikely that Apple will acquire it however, considering that it isn't making money and has a $3.2 billion price tag.