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Apple fails to wow as iPad sales disappoint

The Apple Inc. logo hangs inside the newest Apple Store in New York City's Grand Central Station December 7, 2011, during a press preview of
The Apple Inc. logo hangs inside the newest Apple Store in New York City's Grand Central Station December 7, 2011, during a press preview of

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc delivered lackluster quarterly results and iPad sales fell short of Wall Street targets, pushing its stock slightly lower.

The results came as it heads into the crucial holiday season, when competition in the smartphone and tablet market will reach fever-pitch, with Apple pitting a new phone and iPads against Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc Android devices.

"We were happy with the 14 million iPad sales in the quarter. It exceeded our expectations," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said in an interview. "But as the summer went on, the rumors were pretty rampant about the iPhone and iPad."

For the December quarter, Apple forecast revenue of $52 billion, below the average estimate of $55 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its fiscal fourth quarter revenue rose to $35.96 billion, roughly in line with the average analyst estimate of 35.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Apple shipped 26.9 million iPhones, somewhat higher than the 25 million to 26 million that Wall Street analysts had predicted. Sales of the iPad came in at 14 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, well below lowered forecasts for the tablet.

Apple only had nine selling days of the new iPhone 5 in its fiscal fourth quarter, which means that all eyes are on the current holiday quarter.

Apple heads into the quarter after having refreshed almost all of its product lines, including an upgraded, full-sized iPad. The December quarter will show how well consumers respond to Apple's latest gamble - the new, smaller iPad mini that will goes on sale November 2.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Richard Chang)

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