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Apple sells 47.8M iPhones, 22.9M iPads, misses analyst estimates

Company still working to meet iPhone 4 demand
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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported selling a record 47.8 million iPhones in its fiscal 2013 first quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, up from 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. 

quarterly iphone and ipad sales

Click here to see Apple's iPhone and iPad sales since the devices were first released.

"We're thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We're very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world."

The figures were slightly below what some analysts had expected. According to AllThingsD, Wall Street had expected iPhone sales of 48 million and iPad sales of 22-23 million units.

In terms of financials, Apple posted record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and a record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion. The figures are up from the $46.3 billion in revenue and the net profit of $13.1 billion Apple notched in the year-ago quarter. The company's gross margin fell to 38.6 percent from 44.7 percent in the year-ago quarter.

In its upcoming quarter, Apple forecast revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion and a gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent. Again, the figures beat Apple's own expectations but were slightly below what some analysts had expected. According to AllThingsD, analysts predicted Apple would report revenue of $54.9 billion in its most recent quarter and $45.6 billion in revenue in its upcoming quarter.

Thus, the results appeared to fluster investors, who sent the company's shares down around 4 percent in after-hours trading immediately following the release of Apple's results, to around $494 per share.

During the company's quarterly conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook sought to put the company's results into context. "No technology company has ever reported these kinds of results," he said. "The most important thing to us is that customers love our products. Not just buy them, but love them."

Cook also responded to a number of issues hounding Apple recently. Specifically, Cook sought to throw cold water on recent rumors that Apple has cut orders for iPhone components due to reduced demand. "I don't want to comment on any particular rumor because I would spend my life doing that. I would suggest it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor of build plans," Cook said, adding: "Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our overall business. Because the supply chain is very complex. … There's just an inordinate long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what's going on."

Cook also made a few notable comments on Apple's iPad and iPhone family of products. Cook said the company managed to meet iPhone 5 demand in late December--but the company continues to work to meet demand for the iPhone 4. The comments are notable considering Apple reduces the prices on its older iPhone models in order to tap into demand for cheaper products. The iPhone 4 currently sells for free with a postpaid service contract while the iPhone 5 goes for $200 with a service contract. Cook did not provide specific sales figures for the iPhone 5 vs. the iPhone 4.

Apple has been rumored to be developing a cheaper iPhone, though Cook declined to discuss the topic during the company's conference call. Cook did say however that Apple managed to hit a range of price points, both low and high, with its line of iPods.

"Apple's products have begun to lose their 'innovative' top luster, even while still representing the competitive standard in the industry," warned Andy Castonguay, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Apple's next generation of devices and iOS will need to push into new, exciting design territory to firmly reestablish its claim as the industry's innovation bellwether or risk continued declines in stock value and position in the vanguard of mobile device design."

Cook was also asked whether Apple needed to build a phone with a bigger screen, based on demand for phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note II with big screens. "We put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we picked the right one," Cook said of the iPhone 5, which features a taller screen than previous iPhones. 

As for the iPad, Cook said that demand for both the full-size iPad and the iPad mini was strong during the company's most recent quarter. He said that Apple managed to reach a "supply-demand balance" for the full-size iPad during the period, but he said the company is still working to meet demand for the iPad mini. He said Apple expects to be able to fully meet iPad mini demand sometime this quarter. Apple provides overall sales figures for all its iPads and does not break out sales for specific models.

Finally, Apple offered some metrics on its content and services business. The company said it has recorded a total of 40 billion app downloads through its App Store, including 2 billion during the month of December. Apple's App Store currently counts more than 800,000 apps. The company also said it has paid out $7 billion in total payments to third-party app developers. Apple also said it now transmits more than 2 billion messages per day through its iMessage service.

For more:
- see this release
- see this AllThingsD article

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