Apple Announces Weaker Than Expected Margins, Soft iPad Sales

As the most valuable company in the world, Apple may on occasion have trouble living up to the lofty expectations of investors and market analysts. Such was the case during Apple's fourth quarter financial report. Specifically, it was Apple's forecast for the first quarter of 2013 that worried investors.

"Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO.

Plenty of companies would be thrilled with kind of forecast, but it just so happens that analysts were estimating $55 billion, according to Reuters. What's more, Apple expects margins to be in the neighborhood of 36 percent, quite a bit lower than the 43 percent figure analysts were expecting.

iPad Mini

Expectations aside, Apple is still raking in the cash. The company posted quarterly revenue of $36 billion, resulting in a net profit of $8.2 billion for the quarter. Those numbers compare favorably to revenue of $28.3 billion and net profit of $6.6 billion during the same quarter one year ago.

"We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline."

Apple sold 14 million iPad devices during the quarter, representing a 36 percent unit increase year-over-year, but again was lower than what analysts were estimating. Overall iPad sales would have been higher except that customers were holding out for the much anticipated iPad Mini announcement, which Apple unveiled at a press event earlier this week.