Apple sells 27 million iPhones but misses profit forecast

Apple's earnings were up 23 per cent from last year but still fell below Wall Street expectations

Apple sold 27 million iPhones and 14 million iPads in the last quarter of 2012, swelling its revenue by 27 per cent, but its profits fell short of what analysts had been expecting.

Apple's net profit for the quarter, ended September 29, was $US8.2 billion, or $US8.67 per share, up sharply from $US6.6 billion, or $US7.05 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier, the company announced. That was below the analyst forecast of $US8.75 per share, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $US35.97 billion, up from $US28.27 billion and slightly ahead of expectations.

Apple sold 58 per cent more iPhones than in the same quarter last year, while iPad shipments were up 26 per cent, it said.

Mac sales weren't so strong, growing 1 per cent to 4.9 million units, while iPod sales continued to decline, falling to 5.3 million, as more people relied on their smartphones to listen to music.

Despite missing Wall Street's earnings forecast, the revenue and profit were Apple's highest yet, and it announced a dividend of $US2.65 per share for its stockholders.

"We're very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results," CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

This was the fourth quarter of Apple's fiscal year. For the first quarter, it expects revenue of about $US52 billion and earnings per share of $US11.75, the company said. Those numbers are below the current analyst forecast, which calls for $US54.98 billion in revenue and profit of $US15.41 per share.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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