Apple today announced earnings for the 2013 fiscal first quarter, which includes the three months ending December where the lucrative holiday sales were.
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant released the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini during the peak of Hurricane Sandy, and this just-gone quarter was one week shorter than the same quarter a year earlier, making Apple's hill to climb just that little bit steeper.
Apple posted record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion on revenue of $54.5 billion. The company was expected to hit $54.88 billion, missing analyst estimates. Earnings per share stood at $13.81 compared to $13.87 in the slightly longer 14-week first quarter a year ago.
Here are the numbers you need to know:
Revenue was $54.5 billion, a 17 percent increase on the same quarter a year ago
Net profit was $13.1 billion, flat year on year
Earnings per share stood at $13.81
Gross margin was 38.6 percent, lower than 44.7 percent on the same quarter a year ago
International sales accounted for 61 percent of the first quarter's revenue
Cash balance currently stands at $137.1 billion; $94 billion stored off-shore
Apple's board declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share, payable on February 14.
The company was expected to report earnings of $13.43 per share on revenue of $54.7 billion, according to Wall Street estimates.
Shares in Apple closed 1.8 percent up at $514.15 per share on the Nasdaq. In after-hours trading, the company was down by more than 5 percent.
Key numbers from the company's sales performance this quarter (although this quarter was one week shorter than Q1 2012, so year-over-year comparisons will not be as representative):
iPhones: 47.8 million, up from 37 million from the same period a year ago
iPads: 22.9 million iPads, up from 15.4 million from the same period a year ago
Macs: 4.1 million Macs, down from 5.2 million from the same period a year ago
iPods: 12.7 million, down from 15.4 million from the same period a year ago.
iPhone sales carried the quarter, but the company failed to reach or surpass the crucial milestone of 50 million sold per quarter. Considering Apple's underperforming fourth quarter in which the company missed its earnings per share estimates--despite beating them for sales--the iPhone and iPad maker is back on track for the start of the fiscal year.
By region, as per expected, China is starting to show its soon-to-be powerhouse status as the technology giant continues to push into the region; on the most part untapped by major Western brands and companies.
Americas: Revenue at $20.3 billion; up by 15 percent from a year ago
Europe: Revenue at $12.4 billion; up by 11 percent from a year ago
Greater China: Revenue at $6.8 billion; up by 67 percent from a year ago
Japan: Revenue at $4.4 billion; up by 25 percent from a year ago
Asia-Pacific: Revenue at $3.9 billion; up by 10 percent from a year ago
Retail: Revenue at $6.4 billion; up by 5 percent from a year ago.
Looking ahead to the fiscal second quarter, Apple said it should hit revenue between $41 billion to $43 billion with a gross margin of between 37.5 percent to 28.5 percent. Operating expenses should fall between $3.8 billion and 3.9 billion.
On the post-earnings conference call, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said that breaking into China was one of the most important parts of the company's business, and iPhone sales doubled in the country during the quarter.
Apple also opened 11 new stores, including four in China, generating an average revenue per store of $16.3 million, thanks to a 7 percent year-on-year increase in visitors.
He added that government agencies and enterprises are issuing iPhones, notably NASA. Outside the US, more than 10,000 iPads have been deployed in the Swedish government and in the Netherlands. Barclays also rolled out 8,000 iPads, as reported late last year, which is the largest rollout in its history.