Apple reports record sales, but revenues fail to match forecasts

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple's reported record iPhone and iPad sales for the quarter - but has disappointed analysts all the same, with its slowest profit growth in a decade.

Indeed, the company's shares fell by ten percent on the news, wiping $50 billion from the company's market value.

"Apple’s 4Q performance was not only hampered by supply-chain restraints, but also by increasing competition from Samsung and other manufacturers vying for the premium consumer market," comments  Andy Castonguay, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

"With modest but growing sales of Windows Phone devices as well as a revived product line expected from BlackBerry, Apple’s products have begun to lose their 'innovative' top luster, even while still representing the competitive standard in the industry."

 Quarterly revenue was $54.5 billion - compared with a forecast of $54.9 billion - and Apple made a net profit of $13.1 billion, much the same as last year. In the Americas, the company brought in revenues of $20 billion, up 15 percent.

Sales of the iPhone and iPad were strong, with the company shifting 47.8 million iPhones and 22.9 million tablets. The launch of the iPhone 5 made a big difference here. iPod sales, though, were down from 15.41 million to 12.7 million, and Mac sales fell from 5.2 million to 4.1 million.

"We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter," commented CEO Tim Cook. "We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world."

Nevertheless, Apple is warning that sales in the next quarter may be lower than expected, at between $41 and $43 billion, rather than $45 billion Wall Street's been hoping for.

Discussing the results, Cook gave away a little about the company's product plans. While he refused to rule out the possibility of a cheaper iPhone, he said the company had no plans to increase the current 4.5-inch screen size. He also hinted that work on a much-anticipated TV product was coming nearer to completion.

And he warned that recent reports that the company had cut orders for iPhone screens shouldn't be seen as evidence that the company was worried about demand for the new phones, saying the company worked with multiple suppliers.