Even as Apple outgrew many of its technology-industry peers, the company’s sales climbed at the slowest pace since mid-2009. As Chief executive Tim Cook prepares to overhaul the iPhone, the 26 percent drop in purchases from the second quarter shows how anticipation for the latest model can drag growth in the near term. The iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of revenue.
“We have become spoiled by Apple and what they have done in the past,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust. “It’s just inevitable that you’re going to have some numbers that disappoint people. Come down the road you’re going to have a big upgrade cycle with the next iPhone.”
Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, fell to as low as $565 in extended trading. The shares had slipped less than 1 percent to $600.92 at the close in New York, trimming the year-to-date gain to 48 percent.
The 26 million iPhones sold compared with 28.4 million, analysts’ average prediction. Speculation that Apple is preparing a new iPhone “has caused some pause,” Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call to discuss the results. He also said a weak economy in Europe limited growth.
The period was the first full quarter worth of sales for Apple’s latest iPad, which was released in March and has a high-definition screen, stronger processor and works with faster next-generation wireless networks from carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Apple sold 17 million iPads, compared with 15.4 million projected.
Apple sold 4 million Mac computers and 6.8 million iPods, compared with 4.3 million Macs and 6.6 million iPods projected by analysts.
Apple’s results contrast with those of other hardware makers, such as Hewlett-Packard, which are being hurt as customers opt for smartphones and tablets instead of new laptops. Apple was the only major manufacturer to see U.S. computer sales rise in the second quarter, while Hewlett-Packard and Dell suffered declines, according to Garter Inc.
With tablet sales predicted by research firm Yankee Group to overtake those of personal computers by 2015, Apple is preparing for challengers for its iPad. Microsoft later this year will begin selling its Surface tablet, while Google last month introduced its Nexus 7. Apple’s iPad will account for 62.5 percent of tablet sales this year, according to IDC. The company also is preparing to introduce a model with a smaller screen, people familiar with the plans said earlier this month.
Apple’s next iPhone will have an overhauled look and include a larger screen, people familiar with the plans said in May. Analysts predict that the device will have a stronger processor.
— Bloomberg News