Apple announced a massive $8.2 billion profit for Q3 2012 on $36 billion in quarterly revenue, but its stock price fell almost 5% (from $620 a share to $590 a share) in the day following the announcement as analysts worried that its results foreshadowed slow growth over the coming quarter.
Apple sold 26.9 million units of its flagship smartphone, the iPhone, as buyers around the world snapped up the latest version, the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 was Apple’s best-selling iPhone so far in its opening weekend, as it moved two million units in just the first 24 hours.
While iPhone shipments were stellar—Wall Street had estimated 25 million units—analysts appear to have been spooked by the iPad performance. Apple only sold 14 million units of its flagship tablet, compared to 17 million for the previous quarter and 16 million based on analyst expectations.
Mac-based computers remained more or less flat, moving 4.9 million units, barely 1 percent over the previous quarter. But that was still good news in the overall PC market, where PC shipments declined overall quarter to quarter.
Tablet Competition Heating Up
It appears that analysts’ worries about the iPad shipment are not unfounded. The less-than-expected number of iPad sales means that Apple’s competitors are catching up.
While Apple is still the dominant market leader in tablets, Amazon’s Kindle Fire is reported to have sold 7 million units, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 million units, and Google’s Nexus 7 (manufactured by Asus and believed to be sold at cost by Google) moved 1 million units.
Overall, tablets powered by Apple rival Google’s Android operating system jumped to cover 41% of the tablet market for the quarter, compared to 29% a year ago. In terms of raw shipments, Android tablet shipments more than doubled, accounting for more than 10 million tablets sold, led by the Kindle Fire.
And just this past week, Microsoft launched the latest version of its Windows operating system, Windows 8, and kicked off what is believed to be a $1.5 billion campaign to promote it. Its Surface tablet has already been reported to have sold out in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Overall, Apple still has the sort of income, revenue and growth that other companies would fight to have. But with competition from both Android and Windows tablets nipping on its heels, the Cupertino-based giant will have to keep nimble to stay ahead of its competitors and make Wall Street happy.
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