Apple reported a 24% jump in earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter on Thursday, but the results fell short of investors’ expectations given a slowdown of iPhone sales and lower-than-expected iPad shipments. For the quarter ended Sept. 29, Apple reported net income of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share, compared with net income of $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per share, for the same period last year. Revenue jumped 27% to $36 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $8.75 on revenue of $35.8 billion for the quarter, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters. For the December period, Apple projected earnings per share of $11.75 with revenue of $52 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $15.41 per share on revenue of $55 billion for the period.
Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter is often a quieter one, bolstered a bit by the back-to-school season where it has traditionally promoted sales of notebooks. Consumers also have lately been holding back on purchases of new iPhones, iPads and Macs anticipating correctly that new products were on the way to ensure strong holiday-season sales.
The company said it sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, somewhat higher than recently reduced estimates in the neighborhood of 25 million to 26 million.
Apple’s sales of iPads totaled 14 million, down from even recently reduced estimates for 15 million or so. Mac computer sales totaled 4.9 million units, while iPods totaled 5.3 million units.
iPad numbers appear weak at first glance. Analysts were really expecting Apple to sell 17.5 million iPads for the quarter. But, because Apple announced 100 million iPads sold at its iPad mini event, analysts rejiggered their numbers and backed into 15 million sold. So, if you compare iPad sales to the original estimate, it’s truly awful. We’re guessing Apple will blame rumors about the iPad mini for weak iPad sales, which does make sense.
The next thing that jumps out is the iPhone sales. They were much better than expected. We’ll be interested in hearing more on the call about why iPhone sales were so good.