Apple ships 47 million iPhones; investors hang up

People walk in front of the 5th Avenue Apple store on January 14, 2013 in New York City.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said today that it pocketed a $13.1 billion profit over the final three months of 2012, including the key holiday sales season. That may sound like a windfall profit, but investors were unimpressed, partly because that was the same amount of money Apple made in the final three months of 2011. 

The news comes amid other warning signs that the company's growth is stalling --  last week there were news reports that the company was cutting back orders for iPhone 5 components, like screens, because of weak demand and that "the cutbacks amount to as much as half of Apple's previous sales estimates."

That's leading some to say that Apple could be nearing the end of its vogue period. Its stock price now sits just above $500 a share, and analysts say that even if the iPhone is still selling well overall, there's more fierce competition from smartphones made by other manufacturers like Samsung.

Slate columnist Farhad Manjoo said he was watching the iPhone numbers because that's the company's key product. But Manjoo also added that there are some important asterisks on the earnings report:

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Fourth most profitable quarter posted by any company ever, and the headline is "Mighty Apple has struck out". Glib, shallow, incredibly misleading. And unfortunately, not uncommon for Mr. Ryssdal.

I'm really disappointed with this piece. There's a lot of ways Marketplace could have covered this story, such as Apple's control of the majority of the computer and mobile industry's profit vs. its marketshare, the possibility of the price of Apple's stock being manipulated for the sake of making a strike price or the logic -- or lack of logic -- behind Apple being punished for reporting the largest earnings and profits of any corporation ever.

Instead you call a tech journalist who doesn't add any new insight and whose observations devolve into rumormongering and speculation. If you insist on talking about rumors about what Apple's putting out next, maybe you should do a story about the industry of sites that do nothing but cover reading the tea leaves coming out of Cupertino and its supply chain. Even better, how about something about the sorry state of tech journalism? There was a story floating around the the other day about someone claiming to be a MS employee with a Xbox rumor (he wasn't) and how many well-read tech blogs repeated his rumor without any followup or contact with the source.

Et tu Marketplace? I lost a little respect for you when I heard your take on the earnings report. Apple reports the largest corporate earnings in earth ever (surpassing ExxonMobil), and its stock is getting hammered at 10% down. What kind of retards are Wall Street analysts? No wonder they needed bailing out. F**k. There are no other phone makers out there that are making money, with the exception of Samsung. All other Android phone companies are hemorrhaging: htc, Sony, Motorola (bought out by Google!), Nokia, Blackberry.

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