GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Apple sells 48m iPhones in record quarter, but investors snarl

Gore blimey: $US30 million in stock compensation for Apple director Al

Apple's shares [NAS:AAPL], which have already fallen sharply from their all-time high of $US702.10, fell as much as 9.9% to $US431.73 in after-hours trading following a below-expectations result.

The company sold a 48 million iPhones during its fourth quarter - smashing its previous record of 37 million.

iPad sales also hit a new all time high of 22.9 million.

Quarterly profit hit a record $US13.5 billion.

Revenue was a record $US54 billion, and another $US23 billion was heaped onto Apple's cash mountain - plenty to fund stock compensation to longtime director Al Gore, who exercised an option to pay just $7.47 a share for 59,000 shares - adding around $U30 million to his wealth.

ABOVE: Apple looks more and more like a phone company. iPhone sales grew to account for 56 of total revenue in the December quarter, while Mac sales fell. Via @SpatF. Click to zoom.

So why the backlash from Wall Street?

As every it's an expectations game. Profit, iPhone and iPad sales were slightly below analysts' (sky high) predictions.

There were also a few concerns in the phone print. iPhone average selling price was down 3% to $US642, and the average iPad selling price down 22% to $US467. The rise of the Androids seems to be having some impact on what Apple can charge for its products - even if it's selling many more of them than ever. The cheaper, smaller iPad Mini was introduced during the quarter to take on a challenge from 7-inch Androids.

The lower selling prices meant that although iPad unit sales were up 48% against the year ago quarter, revenue from the tablet was only up 16.6%.

Apple 3-year Nasdaq performance. S&P Capital IQ. Click to zoom.

Another problem area: Mac sales were down 21% to 4.1 million.

The company did not break out desktop vs laptop sales for the first time in more than a decade - leading to speculation that iMac (desktop) sales were weak.

Now seems a good time for CEO Tim Cook to announce an Apple television.

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11 Comments & Questions

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Wall Street is a joke. One day Facebook launch a stupid and rubbish new feature to allow their bored and decreasing user base to find it even more useful but see an extra advert and Wall Street loves them, so stock goes up 5%.

Next minute Apple makes $13.5 billion in a single quarter, sells more product than every before and has billions in the bank, and because it slightly misses Wall Street's stupid estimates they're down 10%.

Ridiculous.

In my opinion, everyone who buys Apple stuff is tied into the eco system. If I break my iPhone I'll buy another one. If I need a new laptop I'll buy a Macbook because they all sync together easily and the iPad is a joy to use. Most people I now have them so we can iMessage for free, iCloud syncs my stuff, etc.

What Wall Street are missing is that existing Apple users won't go out and buy an Android or a Nokia next time they need phone or other device.

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"... existing Apple users won't go out and buy an Android or a Nokia next time they need phone or other device".

Wrong, at least in my case, anyway.

I had an iPhone 3GS, and was eagerly waiting for the iPhone 5. But when Cook announced its features I found it underwhelming. I have switched to an Android phone. The investment in iTune apps was merely a sunk cost. It was easy to start all over with Android apps.

Android phones can be synched on the cloud, too, by the way. It was not that Apple innovated cloud storage and synch.

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iPhone 3GS? You have not been an Apple customer for a long time. The difference between the 5 and 3GS are immense! Simply poles apart as phones.

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But do you know, really know, what the difference is between the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy SIII? They are truly poles apart; not between the 5 and 3GS.

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I could explain to you about how valuation is a result of future forecast earnings, but from your "opinion" I fear you're a lost cause. Good luck with that.

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Oooh, you are so intelligent.

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The fact is the iPhone has become boring - old hat, if you will. The operating system looks the same as always, it's expensive and the glass breaks with the slightest tap. The Windows Phone 8 op system looks fresh and runs on phones that cost less than half the price, the memory is expandable and HTC phones feature gorilla glass. The iPhone's days at the top are numbered.

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Just FYI, Apple tapped Corning, who invented Gorilla glass, for the original iPhone in 2007 and have used GG exclusively since!

www.corninggorillaglass.com/smartphone/

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Ahh, of course, that's right. Forgot Apple only sell phones.

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The real story is Al Gore cashing in his stock options and making USD 30 million, when he probably contributed ZERO to Apple's financial performance. What a parasite!!!!

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I've got a Nokia 920, windows driven...I like it!
Actually, i needed a good phone first and foremost, I do about 1000 minutes a month. Nokia produces a good phone. The gagety bits of Windows 8 work well and...I like it. Happy customer.

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