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Apple meets earnings marks as iPhone sales soar, iPad sales are flat

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Apple Inc. announced earnings largely in line with Wall Street's expectations as sales of iPhones climbed while the iPad remained flat.

The company reported revenue in the fourth quarter of its 2013 fiscal year of $37.5 billion, up from $35.97 billion a year earlier. That number topped analysts' estimates of $36.84 billion and Apple's own guidance from last month of around $37 billion. 

"We're pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth-quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, in a news release.

Apple had said revenue probably would fall at the higher range of its guidance of $35 billion to $37 billion after the company reported it sold a record 9 million new iPhones during the first weekend they were available.

Apple also said it had net income of $7.5 billion, down from $8.2 billion for the same quarter last year. Earnings per share fell to $8.31 from $8.76 a year earlier. Still, that topped analysts' consensus estimate of $7.93.

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The results were driven by sales of 33.8 million iPhones, compared with 26.9 million in the year-earlier quarter. That increase of 26% is below the 58% rate of growth in iPhone sales the company posted a year earlier. 

Apple said it sold 14.1 million iPads, just a bit more than the 14 million it sold in the same quarter last year. Still, the company managed to avoid posting a decline in iPad sales for the second quarter in a row even though many consumers have been waiting for the iPads that were just unveiled this month. 

Perhaps more importantly to Wall Street, Apple said it expected revenue of $55 billion to $58 billion for its current quarter, which ends Dec. 31. That range would be a bit above the consensus estimate of $55.65 billion that analysts had been projecting for the crucial holiday season. 

That projection apparently didn't please investors who sent Apple's stock tumbling in after-hours trading down $11.69, or 2.21%, to $529.88. The stock had closed in regular trading up $3.92, or less than 1%, to $529.88.

Apple is scheduled to discuss its results in a conference call at 2 p.m. Analysts will be looking for more information about whether Apple can make enough of its iPhone 5s to meet demand, and when the iPad Mini with a Retina display might be available. 

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AAPL data by YCharts

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