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Despite record earnings and iPhone sales that broadly surpassed analyst efforts, optimism about Apple's quarterly report was dampered by poorer-than-expected iPad sales.  (Source: Tablet Tutor)
IPad sales showed some signs of weakness, though

Another quarter has passed and Apple has yet again blown away analyst earnings predictions.  You'd think that the tired Wall Street gurus would have learned by now.

Leading the way was an incredible 14.1 million iPhones shipped.  Analysts predicted that Apple, beleaguered by fierce competition from Google's Android army and fallout from the iPhone 4's faulty antenna, would only ship 11 million iPhones during the quarter.  As usual, Apple's customers unquestioning loyalty and willingness to overlook the company's quality slip-ups proved a valuable asset.

Macs sales also looked promising, with 3.89 million units shipped, versus an analyst prediction of 3.7 million units.  The strong iPhone and Mac sales propelled quarterly revenue soaring to $20.34B USD (versus a consensus estimate of $18.9B USD).  Similarly, profits were up to $4.31B USD, handsomely surpassing estimates.

Apple's earnings did showcase some troublesome signs, though.  Particularly worrisome for Apple, its brand-new iPad. I twas forecast to move 4.7 million units, but only moved 4.19 million units, a sign of slowing sales.  And sales of iPods came in a 9.05 million units, falling short of the predicted 10 million units.

Its prediction of $4.80 (USD) earnings per share for its quarter in December also fell short of the bullish analyst consensus of $5.04.

These results led to an unusual trading pattern in Apple's stock after hours.  Despite reporting what seems a blowout quarter, these telltale signs of weakness sent Apple stock approximately $21/share, approximately a 6.6 percent drop.  This drop returned the stock to beneath $300, a mark that the stock just passed for the first time early this month. 

Perhaps such is the fate of an unusual company like Apple whose customers are fiercely loyal, whose actions are over scrutinized, and who continues to deliver plenty of surprises come earnings day.





"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007



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