Record iPhone, iPad sales but Apple profit stalls, shares fall

Apple CEO Tim Cook
iPhone 5c - Cook implies demand was disappointing

Apple has reported record iPhone and iPad sales for its December quarter, but flat profit.

Shares [NAS:AAPL] fell 7% in after-hours trading.

Apple said it made a $US13.1 billion profit in the three months to December 28, 2013 - the same figure as the year-ago quarter.

Revenue rose 5.7% to a record $US57.59 billion as the company sold a record 51 million iPhones during the quarter compared to  47.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected 55 million.

iPad sales hit a record 26 million, up on 22.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

And contrary to analyst guestimates, computer sales also increased. Apple sold 4.8 million Macs, compared to 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter. 

However, overall gross margin was 37.9 percent compared to 38.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. In short, Apple sold more devices but made less money per device as price pressure from competitors increased.

On a conference call, CEO Tim Cook implied sales of the slightly cheaper, colourful iPhone 5C had been slower than expected, saying demand was "different than we thought."

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple had scaled back orders of the 5C, and that the plastic shell used in the 5C design will be scrapped later this year.

More broadly, analysts are still looking for any hint that Apple has another large-scale product launch in the works that could equal the iPhone (first released in 2006) or the iPad (2010).

A smart watch and an Apple television are two rumoured contenders, but Apple has yet confirm any development plans.

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