Apple Misses iPhone Forecasts; Shares Skid 10%

5:42 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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Scott Martin, USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple missed analysts' iPhone sales forecasts in its key holiday shopping period, pushing shares 10% lower in after-hours.

For its seasonal high, Apple reported a first-quarter profit of $13 billion , or $13.81 per share, on $54.5 billion in sales. That compares with a profit of $13 billion, or $13.87 per share, on sales of $46.3 billion a year ago.

"Everyone here is laser-focused," CEO Tim Cook said on a conference call. "Everyone at Apple has their eyes on the future."

Apple watchers worried the company might stumble and report a dip in profit from last year, signaling a cooling of its business. Concerns also surrounded forward-looking guidance on iPhones as U.S. markets face saturation and battlefields shift to China.

Apple has a "very different approach to a market where everybody else is going in with low-end devices" in China, said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

"We aren't interested in revenue for revenue's sake," Cook said on the call.

Apple was expected to earn $12.8 billion in profit, or $13.47 per share, on $54.7 billion in sales in the quarter, according to the survey of estimates from Thomson Reuters. Excluding certain items, Apple's profit of $13.81 per share beat Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of Apple nose-dived $52.33, or 10%, to $461.69 in after-hours trading.

Consumers snapped up 47.8 million iPhones, 22.9 million iPads and 4.1 million Macs in the quarter compared with 5.2 million Macs sold a year ago. "Despite the declining PC market we were expecting the new Pro and Mac to make more of an impact," said Milanesi.

The average of analysts was forecasting Apple would report 48.3 million in iPhone sales. The company was expected to sell about 22 million to 23 million iPads, including the iPad Mini. Apple was expected to sell more than 5 million Macs in the quarter.

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