Apple Q4 iPhone sales slump: Future looks very bright

It is not often that Apple disappoints the market but when they released their Q4 earnings and results last night they failed to meet the market expectations, and it was less than expected iPhone sales in the quarter that was primarily to blame. Apple then goes on to blame the rumor mill for making people delay their purchase.

Apple product success

17.07 million iPhone 4 sold in Q4

It is not like Apple did not deliver another great result, and every line outperformed their own estimates, but the iPhone failed to quite reach the markets estimates. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer in the earnings call went on to at least partly blame the rumor mill for not quite reaching the market estimates. Thenextweb have the following quote from Oppenheimer;

“Apple’s secrecy creates a certain amount of vacuum, which, as we all know, the Internet abhors, and then fills with rumors.”

I’m pretty sure you don’t have to be Apple CFO to understand that the rumor mill and its speculations around the redesigned iPhone 5, two new iPhone models, and a possible 3G enabled iPod Touch 5 would have some impact on people wondering what would be coming next from Apple, and perhaps holding off on buying something new until they found out. Perhaps that also partly explains the record first weekend iPhone 4S sales that we have just seen.

Fact is, this is the first time Apple has waited until October to release a new iPhone handset, therefore perhaps taking a slight hit on Q4 sales instead of Q3 sales. We still have to keep in mind though that the quarter just finished was still up 21% year over year, so it is not like it is a sign of weakness for Apple. Most companies would kill for yearly growth rates in that region.

11.12 million iPad sales / 166% growth

The iPad 2 is riding a wave of success at the moment with a tremendous year over year growth. Who would have thought it would be topping 10 million quarterly sales back when the iPad was first announced. With 52% of global 500 deploying or testing iPads it is turning into a hot product for corporations as well as the app hungry consumer.

Oppenheimer was probably happy to see that there was also less rumors about an imminent iPad 3 possibly hurting iPad 2 sales this quarter.

6.6 million iPods / 3.3 million iPod Touch

Not unsurprisingly the iPod Touch represents the majority of iPod sales for the quarter, but overall iPod sales continue to fall, dropping from 9.3 million in the same quarter last year. It looks like a lot of people go for the iPhone or iPad instead of the device that started the modern Apple adventure.

There was just minor changes to the iPod line up this fall as well, with the iPod Nano getting new features thanks to software upgrade, and the iPod Touch 4 available in white. Perhaps this is all a sign that the iPod as we know it is on the way out.

4.89 million Macs / 26% increase

Looks like the master plan of creating a portfolio demand is working, as this is still a good yearly growth rate.

Apple predicting a very bright future

While Q4 might have momentarily disappointed the market, i think most of them will be very happy about comments made about Q1 2012 predictions, as Apple is estimating to make $37 billion in revenue in this quarter, which includes the important holiday season.

As TechCrunch notes, Apple has never had a + $30 billion quarter in its history and they are known for being fairly conservative in their estimates. This quarter could become a record smasher, and starting with 4 million iPhone 4S sold in 3 days is a good indication of things to come.

[source: Apple PR]


Filed in: Apple news, insight

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