Apple posts record results, still misses Street forecasts

Once again, Apple has posted substantial quarterly growth—and once again, it's disappointed Wall Street analysts.

This time, Apple says its revenue, profits, and iPad unit sales all broke records, while iPhone sales grew by 29% year-on-year. Nonetheless, Reuters reports that Apple's $54.5-billion revenue "slightly" missed the $54.73 billion "analyst estimate," and that the 47.8-million iPhone unit sales came in just below the anticipated figure of "roughly 50 million." The company's already sinking share price reportedly fell by another 6% following the announcement. That works out to a total decline of almost 30% since September, Reuters says.

Here are the raw financial and unit sales figures straight from the Apple press release:

   Q1 FY'12 Q4 FY'12 Q1 FY'13
Revenue $46.33 billion $36.0 billion $54.5 billion
Net profit $13.06 billion $8.2 billion $13.1 billion
Gross margin 44.7% 40.0% 38.6%


   Q1 FY'12 Q4 FY'12 Q1 FY'13
iPhones 37.04 million 26.9 million 47.8 million
iPads 15.43 million 14.0 million 22.9 million
Macs 5.2 million 4.9 million 4.1 million
iPods 15.4 million 5.3 million 12.7 million

Interestingly, it looks like Apple wasn't immune to the slowdown in PC sales last quarter. The Mac maker usually outperforms the rest of the PC industry, but this time, Mac shipments shrank by a whopping 21% compared to a year before. By Gartner's count, the PC market as a whole only suffered a contraction of about 4.9% over the same time period. (The research firm says Apple did see modest growth in shipments in the U.S. market alone, though.)

For the ongoing quarter, Apple expects revenue to fall between $41 billion and $43 billion, with gross margin in the 37.5-38.5% range. Compare that with $39.2-billion revenue and a 47.4% gross margin a year before. Clearly, Apple's margin is shrinking. I suspect that's at least partly because the company continues to offer the iPhone 4 for free after carrier subsidies, alongside the $99 iPhone 4S and the $199 iPhone 5.

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