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Apple Blows Away iPhone and iPad Records, Mac Sales Down 16 Percent

Apple shipped a whopping 47 million iPhones during its fiscal 2013 first quarter and 22.9 million iPads. Both numbers represent a huge jump from a year ago, with Apple recording $54.5 billion in revenue and netting a profit of $13.1 billion. However, iPhone sales fell below analyst expectations, and Apple's stock fell during late trading. 

Nevertheless, it's hard to overlook that Apple sold 10 iOS devices per second during the past quarter. And if you're wondering whether Apple will cheap out to catch up to Samsung, CEO Tim Cook emphasized during the earnings call that "the most important thing to us that people love our products. They don't just buy them."

If you look at iPhone sales, Apple sold nearly 10 million more devices versus the year-ago quarter. Apple says that sales in China more than doubled and that the company now has 51 percent smartphone market share in the U.S. On average, though, analysts were forecasting Apple to hit 48.3 million in iPhone sales, which means the company was off by 1.3 million. 

When asked about whether Apple would make a larger screen phone, Cook said that the 4-inch Retina Display on the iPhone 5 is the "most advanced in the industry" and that "no one comes close to matching the quality." Cook stressed that Apple has done a lot of thinking about screen size and that it didn't want to "sacrifice the ease of use that customers love."

On the iPad front, Apple's sales jumped 7 million units from the same quarter last year, thanks to the introduction of the one-hand-friendly iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad. Despite challengers like the Microsoft Surface, Apple says the iPad continues to be the tablet of choice for businesses.

Apple claims that supply on the iPad mini supply was very constrained, so sales could have been higher. Analysts were forecasting 22 to 23 million iPad sales, so the company fell in line with expectations here. 

So what about Macs? Sales were down to 4.1 million, compared to 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple blames part of the shortfall on supply constraints for the new iMac. It probably didn't help either that Apple's most exciting new notebook was the pricey 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Analysts were expecting 5 million Mac sales in Q1.

Cook said that he's not worried about the iPad cannibalizing the Mac business. In fact, he sees it as a "huge opportunity," as the tablet market is eclipsing the PC market. Apple has seen the same thing happen with the iPod and the iPhone with positive results for the company. Cook gave the example of someone buying an iPad or iPad mini as their first Apple product, which could have a halo effect on the person buying other Apple devices.

Apple sold 12.7 million iPods in the quarter, compared to 15.4 million last year. Apple stressed that the iPod touch was the most popular item, accounting for half of all iPods sold. Still, it's hard to overlook that the overall iPod business is declining.

Overall, Apple's net profit for the quarter was the same year over year overall at $13.1 billion, but per share profit was slightly down at $13.81 versus $13.87 a year ago. That part that has analysts worried, but Apple noted during the call that Q1 2013 was comprised of 13 weeks versus 14 weeks last year.

The biggest concern seems to be that Apple didn't deliver quite as many iPhone sales as analysts projected. Those lofty expectations may have been unrealistic, but it's clear that Apple can't afford to let up on the gas as Samsung gears up to launch the Galaxy S IV and continues to have success with the big-screen Note II.