Recently, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been Wall Street’s darling. The maker of the popular iPhone and iPad has dominated the smartphone and tablet market, and this has led to a huge run up in the company’s stock price. Following a disappointing earnings report for its fiscal third quarter, the stock got hit pretty hard, dropping over 4%. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $10.37 per share, but actual earnings came in much lower at $9.32. A big reason for the disappointment was iPhone sales. The iPhone is the company’s most important product, and accounts for over 50% of the company’s total revenue. iPhone sales were weak as a result of two factors. First, the company is realizing a lower average price on the iPhones that it does sell as consumers are opting to buy older generation phones over the most recent iPhone 4S. This is hurting the company’s total revenues, but what is more important is that the total volume of iPhones being sold has stalled. Analysts had expected to see between 28 million and 29 million units sold, but only 26 million iPhones were actually shipped in the quarter. While this is disappointing, there is a good reason for the miss. A lot of people have been holding off on buying a new iPhone until the next-generation iPhone 5 hits the market later this year. Apple itself has touted this to be the best smartphone ever made, so why would anyone buy the current phone and get stuck in a 2-year contract when they can wait a few months for the “best phone ever”? Perhaps Apple has finally hit a tipping point, but the more likely scenario is that people are just holding off on picking up a new phone until the new model hits the market. We still like Apple, and view the current sell off as a good buying opportunity. We believe the stock will resume its climb when the new iPhone and highly anticipated iTV hit the market later this year.
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.