Apple shipped a record 47.8m iPhones during its first quarter, but Europe remains a difficult region for the manufacturer.
The iPhone maker's results, for the 13 weeks ending 29 December 2012, disappointed analysts expectations, despite it posting a record profit of $13.08bn. Net sales were $54.51bn, up 52% on the previous quarter thanks to the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, and up 18% on 2011. China was the biggest source of growth, with sales up 67% on 2011, but Europe saw its sales only increase by 11%.
Apple iPhone shipments of 47.8m were up 29% on 2011 and were worth $30.66bn, a revenue increase of 28%. Predictions the iPad mini would hit margins appeared to be born out in the figures. While Apple sold 22.86bn iPads, worth $10.67bn, unit sales were up 48% on 2011 while value sales only increased by 22% during the past 12 months. Gross margin was 38.6%, compared to 44.7% in the same quarter in 2011. While the $13.08bn net profit was a record for Apple, it was broadly flat on 2011.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, investors wiped almost $47bn from Apple's colossal stock market value in after-hours trading, noting that was worth almost the value of Dell, Nokia and Research in Motion combined.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said: 'We're thrilled with record revenue of over $54bn and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter. We're very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.'
IDC analyst Francsico Jeronimo described the results as 'excellent' but said given the growth of smartphone sales of 39% during the quarter, Apple underperformed the market. He said Apple was getting challenged by cheaper Android handsets. He said: 'Apple has based all its strategy on providing a high-end device, with the best in class user experience, a strong ecosystem, etc., but at a price — a very high price indeed. Now it is time for Apple to rethink its strategy, risking continued loss of share to Samsung and other players. This is not an easy task though. The challenge for Apple is how to balance high quality handsets, affordable prices and high profits. This is a much tougher job then developing a premium device at a higher price.'
Author: Graeme Neill