(NEW YORK) — Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), the world’s most valuable company, reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Thursday because it’s having trouble keeping up with demand for its market-leading products.
Inventory issues have reportedly affected iPhone 5 sales, struggling to keep up with orders.
The company sold 26.9 million iPhones in the last three months, up 58 percent in the same period a year ago. The company sold 14 million iPads, up 26 percent, and 4.9 million Macs, a one-percent unit increase. The company sold 5.3 million iPods, a 19-percent decline from a year ago.
“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement. “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’s “pipeline” of manufacturing and distribution will be key in the next coming months during the holiday season, which is traditionally the best quarter for the tech company and many other retail companies.
Apple earned $35.97 billion in revenue, slightly higher than the $35.80 billion some analysts expected. Meanwhile, its earnings were $8.2 billion, lower than expected.
Shares of Apple closed down 1.14 percent to $609.80 a share at the end of regular trading.
Tavis McCourt, analyst with investment firm Raymond James, said he expected slower growth in the next few quarters than in previous years.
Raymond James expects Apple’s stock to reach $730 in a year.
“Apple is doing very well. They are taking market share across all their product categories, but the economy is slowing as well,” he said.
On Tuesday, Apple announced the new iPad Mini, which is slightly cheaper at $329 compared to the $399 iPad 2, a fourth-generation iPad and several new Mac computers, including a 13-inch Macbook Pro.
Overall, McCourt said he was “pleased” with Thursday’s product announcement, though Apple’s main revenue driver is the iPhone.
“The iPad, though successful, is still only in the early stages of its growth,” he said.
On Tuesday, Apple said it sold its 100 millionth iPad two weeks ago.
Apple had 3.2 million iPads in its channel at the end of June and may have bled the previous iPad inventory ahead of the fourth-generation iPad launch, negatively impacting the number of products available to the public, McCourt notes.
In July, Apple reported lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue of $35 billion, while analysts had expected $37 billion. The company reported higher profit of $8.8 billion for the third quarter, up from $7.3 billion the previous year. The company had sold 17 million iPads in that quarter.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Menser, BizMoJo Idaho
Cydney McFarland, Idaho State Journal