Despite all the talk about waning demand for the iPhone, Apple broke another phone sales record, reporting 47.8 million iPhone sales last quarter, a full 10 million more phones than last year's holiday season. With sales like that, the iMaker reported $54.5 billion in revenue and $13.1 billion in profits for the quarter ended Dec. 29. During the call Apple specifically denied anyrumors of slowing demand. CEO Tim Cook himself addressed the supply chain rumormongers in particular, saying they are "not a great proxy for what is going on." "It’s good to question the accuracy of any rumor about build plans," he added. And yet, given the good news for the status of our enduring love for the iPhone, Wall Street doesn't look too happy. Apple's stock is down about 8 percent in after-hours trading, as of this writing.
The stock dip might have more to do with the company's change in guidance than the actual numbers, though. Before, Apple used to give a more "conservative," ie. lowball, estimate for its earnings, as chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer explained it on the earnings call. "In recent years, our guidance reflected a conservative point estimate, or results every quarter that we have reasonable confidence in achieving." Now, Apple will be more realistic: "Going forward, we plan to provide a range of guidance that reflect our belief of what we are likely to achieve," he said.
This quarter's number reflect that new policy and Wall Street does not like it. Analysts expected $54.9 billion in revenue, and the $13.1 billion profit number is flat from one year ago. Apple ergo didn't blow away estimates, as it had in previous quarters. The market, in other words, is punishing Apple for being honest. Some could argue the "miss" proves a decline in iPhone obsession. The company doesn't break down the numbers for how many phones of which type it sold. The numbers could skew toward older models, which make Apple less money. But it also might have more to do with the slip in Mac and iPod sales. iPod sales took a particularly harsh turn, with Apple selling 12.7 million, down from 15.4 million from the same quarter a year ago.