Apple: Aussie sales impacted by economy

Apple has said that poor economic conditions in countries like Australia have impacted its results, but is Australia doing as badly as the company thinks?

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer has said that economic factors in Australia and elsewhere affected its results for the third quarter, and that it doesn't expect this to change.

The company reported third-quarter earnings overnight of US$8.8 billion , or US$9.32 per share, on revenue of US$35 billion. Wall Street was expecting earnings of US$10.37 per share on revenue of US$37.2 billion.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones in its Q3, compared to the 35.1 million it sold in the second quarter that ended in March — a 26 per cent drop. However, it was an increase on the 20.3 million iPhones sold in the June quarter last year, and the number met its own guidance on sales.

When asked, Oppenheimer opened up about what the company had found disappointing in the quarter.

"The economy in Europe is not doing well. We think this impacted our results. We also saw some economic impact in the natural resource-based economies, including Australia, Brazil and Canada," he said.

The US dollar also improved against various currencies, including the Australian dollar, he said, which reduced the company's revenue growth for the quarter.

Both of these effects are expected to continue into the next quarter, he said.

However, his comments come just after Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens made an uplifting speech about how well the Australian economy is tracking in comparison to the rest of the world, displaying graphs that rank Australia's real GDP and real GDP per capita over that of the US, the UK and New Zealand. Australia also has a lower unemployment rate than those countries.

"It is fair to conclude that given the circumstances internationally, the Australian economy has exhibited more than acceptable performance over recent years. This conclusion would stand, whether comparisons were made either against most other countries or against our own historical experience," Stevens said.

Although the Chinese market, upon which Australia's resources success hangs heavily, has not been growing as fast as it was previously, it is far from contraction, he said.

Stevens said that even if there is a serious slump in China, the Australian dollar would probably fall, which would provide an expansionary impetus to the Australian economy. More importantly, the Chinese authorities would respond with stimulus measures.

Given Stevens' optimism, any of Apple's future disappointment in Australia may have more basis in other factors, such as the fact that people may have been holding off with iPhone purchases due to rumours of an upcoming iPhone release.

"Regarding the iPhone, we're reading the same rumours and speculation that you are about a new iPhone, and we think this has caused some pause in customers purchasing. The timing of availability of Intel's Ivy Bridge and resulting rumours about the new portables impacted our sales in April and May," Oppenheimer said of the quarter.

Competition may also be a factor. There has been vibrant competition in the segment from the likes of Samsung, which recently trumpeted reaching its 10 million sales target for the Galaxy S III .

AAP contributed to this article.