REFILED, DO NOT PUBLISH: Apple hails results but outlook knocks stock price

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Apple shares slid about 10 per cent Wednesday after the tech giant posted record profits and sales of its iPhones and iPads but offered a disappointing forecast for the coming months.

Apple said it made a profit of US$13.l billion (S$16 billion) on revenue of US$54.5 billion in the fiscal quarter that ended on December 29 as sales of iPhones and iPads set quarterly highs.

"Apple's profit did go up; it just didn't go up that much," said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.

"They had a really high increase in sales, but their high margin is coming apart at the edges and that is why investors are fleeing the stock," the analyst continued. "They are making less per gadget." The California-based company reported that it sold 47.8 million iPhones and 22.9 million iPad tablet computers in the closing months of last year.

"We're thrilled with record revenue of over US$54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter," said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

Despite the figures, some investors soured on Apple, after it forecast that its revenue for the current quarter would range from US$41 to US$43 billion and it would have a gross margin of from 37.5 to 39.5 per cent.

Apple has been long known for a high margin, the difference between what they charge for products and the cost to make them. Enderle referred to it as a "Porsche model" of creations crafted for the high end of a market.

"Steve Jobs traded on a Porsche model," Enderle said, referring to the late Apple co-founder and chief executive. "Cook is shifting to more of a value model; he is chasing Samsung." Peter Misek, analyst at Jefferies, said Apple's results topped the consensus "but fell short of our estimates." Apple shares dropped 9.8 per cent to US$463.49 in after-market trading that followed release of the earnings results.

"The most important thing is that our customers love our products," Cook said in an earnings call with financial analysts.

"Not just buy them; love them," he continued. "Everyone at Apple has their eyes on the future."