More than $50bn (£31.5bn) was wiped off Apple's market capitalisation in after-hours trading following the publication of its first fiscal quarter results, as profits flatlined and unit sales lagged behind Wall Street expectations.
Despite the lukewarm reception given to the figures, the vendor grew sales for the 13 weeks by 17.7 per cent year on year to $54.5bn (£34.4bn). Operating profit was more or less flat on the corresponding period last year and stood at $13.1bn. For its second fiscal quarter, Apple is expecting to post revenue in the range of $41bn to $43bn, with gross margins between 37.5 and 38.5 per cent.
During the quarter the company shipped 22.9 million iPads, a rise of almost 50 per cent year on year, while sales of Macs were down by about a fifth to 4.1 million and iPod sales fell from 15.4 million to 12.7 million. Sales of iPhones increased by almost 11 million to 47.8 million, but investors have reacted disappointedly to the vendor's failure to break the 50 million mark.
In a conference call with analysts, transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Apple's senior management admitted the company had been held back by component constraints during its opening quarter.
Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said: "With the iPad mini it is hard to know [about demand], we could not make enough in the quarter. We were constrained every week. Customers love the mini and we wish that we could have made more and we ended the quarter with significant backlog."
Chief executive Tim Cook (pictured) added: "We did have significant shortages due to robust demand on both iPad mini and both models of the iMac that persisted the entire quarter. We are still short of both of those today, as the matter of fact.
"Additionally, supply of iPhone 5 was short [compared with] demand until late in the quarter and iPhone 4 was short for the entire quarter. We believe that we can achieve a supply-demand balance on iPad mini during this quarter and on iPhone 4 during this quarter. On iMac, we are confident that we are going to significantly increase the supply, but the demand here is very strong and we are not certain that we will achieve a supply demand balance during the quarter."
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