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Apple’s Savior: A New Cheaper iPhone?

Daily Ticker

Apple (APPL) shares were continuing to sink Thursday morning after the tech giant missed Wall Street's estimates for the fiscal first quarter. The stock has fallen roughly 10% on the news, which disappointed investors by falling short of their expectations.

But if you've looked at the numbers, you might wonder what the problem is, because Apple had a record quarter in more than one way. Here are the results, according to Apple:

  • The company posted record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share. These results compare with revenue of $46.3 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.
  • It sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter.
  • Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, up from 15.4 million last year.

Related: Apple Could Fall to $350 But More Likely a “Bear Trap”: Ritholtz

Apple did, however, offer cautious guidance about the upcoming quarter and announced it will change the way it will provide earnings forecasts. The company will no longer provide a single number benchmark, which it has historically clobbered, but will instead offer a range for guidance.

"Beginning this fiscal year, we are reorganizing the presentation of our results to provide greater transparency," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said on the earnings call. “In recent years, our guidance reflected a conservative point estimate of results every quarter that we had reasonable confidence in achieving. Going forward, we plan to provide a range of guidance that reflects our belief of what we are likely to achieve.”

Apple predicts its fiscal second quarter will rake in between $41 billion and $43 billion in revenue, a stark decline from the latest quarter.

Related: Apple Cuts iPhone 5 Production, Stock Falls: Is the Age of Apple Over?

In the wake of the headlines, no less than seven analysts have cut their ratings for Apple.

Walter Piecyk, analyst at BTIG, joins The Daily Ticker in the accompany video to make sense of the numbers. He's had a neutral rating on Apple since last April when cell phone carriers tightened the rules around their upgrade policy. "Frankly, even in this quarter, had Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) not tightened up those upgrade policies, Apple probably could have sold 50 million iPhones," Piecyk says.

Related: A Real Concern For Apple's Stock: Telecom Carriers Threaten to Kill Subsidies on Phones

The other issue Apple faces is trying to penetrate global markets where people cannot afford a $600-plus phone.

"In order for Apple to stimulate growth, I think they need a cheaper phone," says Piecyk. Earlier this month, we reported that Apple may be contemplating a low-cost model of the iPhone to release later this year.

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