New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: For the first time in nearly two years, technology giant Apple Inc. on Thursday reported its steepest quarterly drop of over 5 per cent, at one point in after-hours trade, wiping off 100 billion USD from its stock market value. The company has cited the late launch of its 5G smartphones (iPhone 12 series) for the huge loss.

Since 2013, Apple has delivered new iPhones each September like clockwork. But pandemic-induced delays pushed the announcement back a month, with some devices still yet to ship.

According to a report by Reuters, Apple iPhone sales dropped 20.7 per cent to 26.4 billion USD even as the sales of Macs and AirPods boosted overall revenue and profit of the company.

The lower sales were anticipated already in Apple's smartphones by the investors, but the hold-back was worse than expected, especially in China, where more people have access to 5G technology as compared to Europe and the US.

Apple said revenue and profits for the fiscal fourth quarter ended on Sept. 26 was 64.7 billion USD and 73 cents per share, compared with analyst estimates of 63.7 billion USD and 70 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv, as reported by Reuters. But the flagship iPhone 12's announcement was delayed until Oct. 13, several weeks later than usual, meaning no opening-weekend iPhone sales are included in the fourth-quarter results.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, as quoted by Reuters said that he was "optimistic" about the iPhone 12 cycle based on the first five days of shipping date.

"5G is a once-in-a-decade kind of opportunity. And we could not be more excited to hit the market exactly when we did," Cook said, adding "at least in the U.S, the carriers are being very aggressive," he said.

The iPhone 12 release timing drove down sales in Greater China by 28.5 per cent to 7.95 billion USD. Cook said he expects the new 5G devices to help iPhone sales recover in China. "What we're seeing in the early going in the first five days gives us a lot of confidence that China will return to growth in our fiscal Q1," Cook sadded.

Cook told Reuters that Apple has 585 million paying subscribers across its platforms, up from 550 million the previous quarter and closer to the goal of 600 million subscribers that the company set out for the end of calendar 2020.

Apple's shares have soared in the past two years as it has diversified its revenue streams to lessen its dependence on the iPhone. The share tumble on Thursday raises the question of whether Apple is still more dependent on iPhone sales than some investors had hoped.

Apple said revenue from its accessories segment was up 20.8 per cent to 7.9 billion USD, compared with analyst estimates of a 13.5 per cent rise to 7.4 billion USD, according to Refinitiv data. Mac and iPad sales rose to USD 9.0 billion and USD 6.8 billion, compared with estimates of 7.92 billion USD and 6.12 billion USD, according to Refinitiv data.

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan