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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