Uncertainty hung over Apple's fiscal third quarter coming into today's earnings announcement. Gulfs widened among analysts for overall revenue estimates and about how many iPads or iPhones were sold. No one expected poor performance, there was just more uncertainty about what and where than more recent quarters. Fiscal Q3 will be remembered as sea change coming, as Apple missed Street consensus for the first time in years and iPad sales surged against iPhone.
For fiscal third quarter, Apple reported $35 billion revenue and net profits of $8.8 billion, or $9.32 a share. A year earlier, the company reported revenue of $28.57 billion and $7.31 billion net quarterly profit, or $7.79 per share. Apple announced fiscal Q3 results after the market closed today.
Three months ago, Apple forecasted $34 billion in revenue with earnings per share of $8.68. Analyst average estimates were higher than Apple guidance: $37.18 billion revenue and $10.36 earnings per share. Revenue estimate range: $34.54 billion to $41.73 billion. This breaks an ongoing trend of the Street expecting more than guidance and Apple still beating consensus.
Shareholders responded rapidly to the earnings miss, with shares down more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.
Looking ahead, Apple forecasts $34 billion in revenue for fiscal 2012 fourth quarter, with earnings per share of $7.65.
As expected, Apple will issue a dividend, $2.65 per share, on August 16 to shareholders of record on August 13.
Apple shipped 17 million iPads and 26 million iPhones during fiscal Q3. Analyst consensus was around 15.6 million tablets and 29 million smartphones.
"We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter", Apple CEO Tim Cook says. "We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline".
Cumulative iOS device sales reached 410 million at the end of March -- 45 million during fiscal third quarter. Apple has paid $5.5 billion to developers. There are 150 million iCloud subscribers.
Gross margins rose to 42.8 percent from 41.7 percent a year ago. Sales in international markets accounted for 62 percent of revenue.