Apple earnings: misses estimates, slashes guidance

Apple earnings: misses estimates, slashes guidance

Summary: Apple has released its fourth quarter results for the fiscal year 2012, missing some estimates and lowering guidance for Q1. Here's a look at the numbers.


Apple today announced earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012, posting earnings per share of $8.67 on revenue of $35.97 billion. That just misses estimates for EPS but beats them for sales. Overall it's a minor miss for the quarter, but the company is generally on track.

More worrisome: the company dropped its guidance below analysts' expectations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 considerably, from diluted earnings per share of $15.49 on revenue of $55 billion to just $11.75 on revenue of $52 billion. That's a disappointing surprise, particularly since most investors consider Apple to habitually low-ball its quarterly estimates.

Shares of Apple were down two percent in after-hours trading, trading below $600 for the first time since late July.

Wall Street analysts had expected $8.81 earnings per share on $35.8 billion in revenue in Q4. But it's the company's stormy outlook for 2013 that has them concerned.

First, the quarterly vitals:

  • Revenue: $36.0 billion, up considerably from $28.3 billion the same quarter a year ago.
  • Net profit: $8.2 billion ($8.67 per diluted share), up considerably from the $6.6 billion ($7.05 per diluted share) the same quarter a year ago.
  • Gross margin: 40.0 percent, slightly lower than 40.3 percent the same quarter a year ago.
  • International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter's revenue.
  • Apple's board declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of common stock, payable Nov. 15.

Key product performance this quarter:

  • iPhones: 26.9 million, up 58 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • iPads: 14.0 million iPads, up 26 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • Macs: 4.9 million Macs, up 1 percent from the same period a year ago.
  • iPods: 5.3 million, up 19 percent from the same period a year ago.

Analysts had expected sales of 25.3 million iPhones, 15 million iPads, 5 million Macs and 5.5 million iPods.

Regional performance this quarter:

  • Americas: Revenue up 8 percent quarter over quarter; up 43 percent from a year ago.
  • Europe: Revenue down 3 percent QoQ; up 8 percent YoY.
  • Japan: Revenue up 18 percent QoQ; up 113 percent YoY.
  • Asia Pacific: Revenue down 4 percent QoQ; up 15 percent YoY.
  • Retail: Revenue up 4 percent QoQ; up 18 percent YoY.

Vitals for fiscal year 2012:

  • Net income: $41 billion
  • Operating cash flow: $50 billion

Expectations heading into the announcement were slightly hazy after chief executive Tim Cook announced this week that Apple had sold its 100 millionth iPad -- a milestone that hid a slower pace of sales than analysts expected. 

This week, Apple also unveiled the new iPad mini as well as a refresh on the full-size iPad, 13-inch MacBook Pro and iMac.


My colleague Zack Whittaker will be covering the corresponding earnings call shortly; check Between the Lines in a few minutes for his coverage on what Apple's executives said about the quarter.

Topic: Apple

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • It seems that Android tablets are having more of an impact

    then many prediceted.
    William Farrel
    • especially the Apple Vs. Samsung

      helped Samsung with free publicity.
      Ram U
      • Q1 guidance...

        Apple always guides conservatively, remember?

        This time last year, their guidance for the Christmas quarter was for $9.30 in profit on $37B revenue. They blew that out.

        This years guidance is for $11.75 (+26% over last years guidance) on $52B (+40%). With a refresh of almost every product line, they'll blow that out too.

        I think after the rest of the tech industry's crummy quarter, folks had already concluded Apple must also be in trouble. As it is, their P/E (trailing!) is now 13.8 and ex cash, it's 10.8. That's GM territory.

        Amazon's P/E was 271, before this loss. GOOG's is over 20.

        I think AAPL investors will do okay ; )
    • Some impact! Grin.

      I would hate to be in Apple's shareholders shoes about now. In fact, they should be quaking in their proverbial boots. Then again, with all their dividend money weighing them down, there might not be that much quaking going on - but that's just a guess.
      • Are you sure dividends count?

        MSFT has been giving out dividends for a very long time now but all we ever heard was the big focus on the stagnant stock price. Dividends never seemed to come into the equation. Are you now going against your brethren and suggesting that dividends SHOULD count when analyzing a stock?
        • I'll take 2.65 plus a 100% share increase.

          Oh, wait-I'll already did. I'll be buying more AAPL tomorrow.
          • I'll take products that work

            Like the Microsoft Surface RT.

            Good luck with your new AAPL shares and enjoy the 0.4% dividend you just got. And don't worry, I'm sure statements like this won't do anything at all to wipe out that 0.4%:
            "More worrisome: the company dropped its guidance for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 considerably"

            After all, what does Apple know about what to expect in the coming quarter?
          • May want to see comment above re guidance

            Apple didn't drop it's guidance. This is the first guidance they've given for the upcoming Christmas quarter, and it's way over the guidance they gave for last year's Christmas quarter.
          • Re: Guidance

            That's what I thought. Did the author accidentally reference consensus guidance #'s as if they were Apple's?
          • No you won't

            "I'll take products that work "

            You will MS products whether those work on not. You don't own a Surface, you've never touched a Surface, you've no idea how it will work or whether or not it will truly meet your needs. Stop lying and simply admit that you are a shill.
          • Are you sure?

            Early reviews of Surface don't look too promising. Hardware seems great, but Win RT isn't winning anyone over. Surface may already be irrelevant by the time the full Win 8 variant's released. A shame - someone needs to displace iPad.
          • ....

            You mean that would double the price of AAP? Good thing you are not my financial advisor.
            Ram U
      • How refreshing, somebody who doesn't understand money

        If you bought into apple at the beginning of the year (~$608 a share), their stock hasn't kept up with inflation ($609.54 today). The dividend they paid was only about 0.4%. Add that on to the roughly $1 increase they have had over the past 10 months, and you have a total increase of 0.5% gain, which is once again less than inflation. In fact, my bank gives a better return on a checking account than that.
      • So are you dismissing his assertion that Andriod tablets

        have taken sales away leading to a drop in iPad sales, and earnings overall?
        All you did was talk about investors. What did that have to do with the post?

        I think that Android tablets have done just that. I've seen the Kindle and it's a very good tablet so he has a valid point.
        NoMore MicrosoftEver
  • Oh damn, this is a disaster

    Remember folks, it isn't important that Apple made billions in profit.

    Nope, what is important is stock price and APPL is taking a hammering right now. I guess that means that every iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Mac got 15% worse in the last month. After all, if we've learned anything from Apple fanboi commentaries about MSFT, the "goodness" of a product is directly related to the share price of the manufacturer.

    26% losses on Macs, 18% losses on iPads, 26% losses on iPods, ouch.

    And Apple has just announced that they expect next quarter to be even worse.

    Buckle up boys and girls, $500 AAPL by next quarter? $100 AAPL by the end of 2013? Time to sell.
    • If AAPL is ever at $100

      There will either be share split or the economy will have tanked so badly MSFT will be down to $2.
      • what does it have to do with MSFT?

        I am not proclaiming AAPL would $100 level, but all I am saying is if a company goes down, it could be because of the mistakes at the top level executives because those executives are so into beaurocratic leadership not transformational, servant or at least transactional not because of economy. Economy could damage a company's progress this much not to the level of penny stocks.
        Ram U
  • Apple earnings: misses estimates, slashes guidance

    Gene Munster must be crapping his pants right now about this news. I'm sure he'll drum up some press release so he can get his Apple stock price back up.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • He's still waiting for Apple HDTVs

      But I'll always love Gene "the Herman" Munster!
  • Way to focus on the negative

    Everything is up from the previous year.