Apple Reports Flat Q1 Profit, Shares Fall


Apple Wednesday reported record quarterly revenue that still fell short of Wall Street estimates, doing little to quell investors' fears that that the smartphone and tablet giant is starting to lose steam.

For its first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 29, Apple reported its highest-ever quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion, up 18 percent year-over-year compared to the $46.3 billion in revenue it reported during the first quarter of 2012. Apple also reported a profit of $13.1 billion, which was flat year-over-year.

Apple said it sold a record 47.8 million iPhones during the first quarter, up 20 percent from the 37 million it sold in the year-ago quarter. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also saw a jump in iPad sales, selling 22.9 million units, which is up 49 percent from the 15.4 million it sold during the same quarter the year before.

[Related: Report: Apple Cuts iPhone 5 Supply Orders As Demand Wanes]

Apple saw a decline in both Mac and iPod sales during the three-month period. The company said it sold 4.1 million Macs compared to the 5.2 million it sold during the same quarter last year, and 12.7 million iPods, down year-over-year from 15.4 million.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's iPhone sales, though record-setting, just barely met the expectations of analysts, which had projected the company to sell between 47 million and 50 million units of the smartphone.

Apple's record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion also fell short of analysts' projected $54.7 billion, the Journal said. With the release of its first-quarter figures, Apple's shares fell 4 percent to $493.

Apple's stock has taken a hit over the past few weeks, as reports came to light suggesting demand for the new iPhone 5 has been weaker than expected. Some reports claimed Apple has already started to scale back its component orders for the new smartphone, due to built-up inventory from the holiday season. As the reports emerged, Apple's stock hit an 11-month low last week.

Some analysts also suspect Apple is starting to feel pressure mount from competitors such as Samsung, whose Android-based smartphones are dominating the global market.

"Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung's business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung's technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future," said Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research, in a statement. "Since 2010 Samsung has grown its smartphone market share from 8 percent to over 30 percent in 2012; meanwhile Apple's market share is expected to peak in 2013 at 22 percent; remaining flat through 2018."

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

Cook added during a conference call with investors that the company remains "laser-focused" on its future, and being a dominant force in mobility. Looking ahead, Apple expects its revenue to fall between $41 billion and $43 billion in the second quarter.

PUBLISHED JAN. 23, 2013