But Cook went on to say that the fall-off in sales accelerated during the second half of the quarter, yet was much less than Apple actually expected. The actual revenue and profit results for the quarter set an Apple record, even though they were slightly less than what analysts had forecast.
For example, analysts had projected iPhone sales of about 22 million for the quarter; Apple actually sold 17 million. For the quarter ending in September, Apple's revenues were $28.3 billion, slightly less than Q3 and about one billion less than the amount expected by analysts. Profits for Q4 were $6.62 billion, also down slightly from Q3. But revenues and profits were dramatically higher than in Q4 last year, when Apple reported $20.3 billion in revenues and $4.31 billion in profit.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. As Zibreg notes in his story, analyst Horace Dediu at Asymco.com has looked the historical record of iPhone sales. “Each new iPhone launch was preceded by a quarter where units went down sequentially. The same has happened with the iPad for the one tradition we’ve had so far,” Dediu wrote in a blog post last October.
The iPhone market shows consistent behavior in three areas, according to Dediu:
* Overall production capacity is increasing at about 100% per year.
* There is “significant seasonality due to production ramps as the product is updated on a yearly cycle. These cycles are tuned to reach maximum throughput during the US holiday period.”
* “Demand is practically unlimited and is throttled by both production schedule and distribution agreements.”
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