Apple quarterly revenue misses mark, iPhone 4S to blame?

Apple iPhone 4SIt probably doesn’t surprise you too much to hear Apple is reporting revenue of nearly $30 billion for its fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 24.

What may surprise you is that figure was below analysts’ estimates. Apple sold 17.07 million, far short of the 20 million forecast for the technology giant.

That news sent Apple stock falling five percent to below $400. New Apple CEO Tim Cook said the drop was caused by initial reaction to the iPhone 4s, which initially disappointed consumers who were hoping for an all-new iPhone 5.

That disappointment didn’t impact sales, however. The new iPhone 4S, announced two weeks ago, sold more than 4 million units last weekend. That’s more than double the numbers the iPhone 4 did during its opening weekend in 2010. The lack of a major redesign inspired only lukewarm reviews–but although the iPhone 4S looks identical to the iPhone 4 it sports many new features, including a voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, that is unmatched in the industry.

And despite missing analysts’ expectations — prompting the need for a good performance from iPhone 4S in the first quarter — Apple had a net profit for the quarter of nearly $7 billion. That take brings Apple’s cash reserves to more than $81 billion. In an earnings calls with investors, Cook said the company wasn’t in any big rush to go on a shopping spree and wanted to make safe, wise investments.

Of note, Apple’s Mac computer sales of nearly 5 million were well above expectations, breaking a record quarter set earlier this year. Mac sales were up 27 percent from the same quarter a year ago, and Apple sold more than 11 million iPad2 units in the quarter.

Here’s Apple’s official press release:

All-Time Record Mac and iPad Sales
Highest September Quarter Revenue and Earnings Ever

CUPERTINO, California—October 18, 2011—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2011. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.3 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 63 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

“We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.”

“We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30.”

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