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Apple posts Q4 earnings miss despite iPhone 5 launch; $8.2 billion profit on $36 billion in revenue

Updated Oct 25th, 2012 5:29PM EDT
Apple Q4 2012 Earnings

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Apple (AAPL) has been getting clobbered on Wall Street lately. The stock hit a record high of $705.07 just after the iPhone 5 launched, but it has tumbled more than 13% since then and closed at $609.80 on Thursday. Apple is still far more profitable than any other consumer electronics company in the world, but Wall Street analysts’ sky high expectations have pummeled the company’s share price. For the September quarter, the Street expected Apple to earn $8.81 per share on revenue totaling $35.8 billion, much higher than Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter EPS guidance of $7.65 and revenue guidance of $34 billion. The numbers are now in, and Apple missed expectations despite the record-setting iPhone 5 launch, reporting a profit of $8.67 per share on $36 billion in sales.

Apple posted a big miss in the fiscal fourth quarter last year, earning $7.05 per share while analysts were expecting $7.29.

Where device shipments are concerned, analysts’ Q4 2012 consensus had Apple moving 25.3 million iPhones, 15.3 million iPads, 5.5 million iPods and 5 million Mac computers. The company reported selling 26.9 million iPhones, topping estimates, but iPad sales totaling 14 million units missed big. Apple also said it sold 5.3 million iPods in the quarter, down 19% year-over-year, and 4.9 million Macs, up 1% over the same quarter in 2011.

For the December quarter, analysts were looking for sky-high earnings guidance of $15.45 per share on $54.9 billion in revenue. Apple expects revenue to total $52 billion during the holiday quarter, however, and EPS is expected to come in at $11.75.

Apple’s press release follows below

Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results

26.9 Million iPhones Sold; Record Fourth Quarter Revenue and Profit

Board Declares Quarterly Dividend of $2.65 per Common Share

CUPERTINO, California—October 25, 2012—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 fourth quarter ended September 29, 2012. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $36.0 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $28.3 billion and net profit of $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.0 percent compared to 40.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.9 million Macs during the quarter, a 1 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 5.3 million iPods, a 19 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on November 15, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 12, 2012.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”

“We’re pleased to have generated over $41 billion in net income and over $50 billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.