Apple shares tumble after weak iPhone sales in Q4

The sales of Apple's flagship device, the iPhone, witnessed one rare miss in the fourth quarter, with the handset's sales falling notably short of Wall Street expectations --- a situation that completely overshadowed the highly- enviable 54 percent rise in profit and a 39 percent increase in revenue; and sent Apple's shares plunging 7 percent, to below $US400, at the close of normal trading hours!

According to Apple's September quarterly report - the first report under the new CEO Tim Cook -, the sales figures of the iPhone during the quarter stood at 17.07 units; while the analysts were expecting the figures to nearly touch the 20 million mark.

As per the explanations put forth by the Apple executives, the shortfall witnessed by the iPhone sales was essentially a result of the fact that the consumers put off buying the handset because of widespread speculations that the company would launch a new handset in fall. Clearly, the consumers thought it better to wait till the latest iteration of the phone was released.

Despite the fact that the new model - the recently-released iPhone 4S - reportedly, according to Apple, witnessed the best-ever three-day debut sales of the handset, the figures could not contribute to the fourth quarter numbers as that quarter ended on September 24.

Noting that Apple "had a big upgrade cycle with the iPhone," but the numbers "came in weak," Colin Gillis - analyst at BGC Partners - said that the company needs "to set records every time they report to keep up the momentum."