Apple misses forecasts with Christmas iPhone sales
Tech giant’s revenue expectations for current quarter also disappoint
Apple disappoints: Does the technology giant’s latest handset have the X-factor? Photograph: Getty
Apple forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the current quarter and reported iPhone sales from the crucial holiday period that missed analysts’ forecasts, suggesting waning demand for iPhones.
The California-based company said revenue in the three months ending in March will be $60 billion (€48 billion) to $62 billion. Analysts were looking for $65.9 billion on average.
For the final quarter of 2017, Apple said it sold 77.3 million iPhones, down 1 per cent from a year earlier and below analysts’ projections of 80.2 million units. The average selling price was $796 – ahead of expectations – suggesting its flagship iPhone X handset sold relatively well, while cheaper versions weren’t as popular.
The numbers highlight concern about lacklustre demand for iPhones, sparked by recent reports of Apple cutting orders to suppliers and lower analyst estimates. Fewer new handsets means Apple has to work harder to sell related services, accessories and other devices. It also leaves less time for the company to create its next big hit, potentially in wearable technology, augmented reality or even transportation.
Apple reported fiscal first-quarter revenue of $88.3 billion, and profit of $3.89 a share, beating average analyst estimates.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said the 2017 holiday period was a week shorter, compared with 2016, limiting iPhone sales. “We are very, very happy with the guidance we are providing,” he added, noting that sales of handsets were strong in all regions.
“IPhone X was the most popular phone and since we launched it in early November, for every week it’s been the top selling iPhone,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in an interview. “Couldn’t be prouder of it.”
Apple’s cash reserves jumped to $285 billion, adding to the pile of offshore money that will be taxed under new legislation introduced in the US recently. The company said last month that it will bring hundreds of billions of dollars back to the US and pay $38 billion in tax.
Apple employs close to 6,000 people in the Republic and hopes to add another 50 if it manages to beat objections and build a €850 million data centre in Athenry, Co Galway. The company’s relationship with the State has been complicated of late by the European Commission’s ruling that Apple must pay €13 billion to the exchequer to cover back taxes due. Both Apple and the Government plan to appeal the commission’s decision.