Apple's strong quarter suffers $6B blow from supply shortage

Apple Results

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s iPhone sales soared yet again in the past quarter, but didn’t grow as rapidly as analysts anticipated because of supply shortages that have made it more difficult to meet the demand for a wide range of products.

Until recently, the supply shortages that have curtailed production of everything from automobiles to video game consoles haven’t been a major problem for Apple. Although the company’s quarterly results released Thursday served as evidence of its products’ continuing success, they also showed Apple isn’t immune to the supply headaches.

The company earned $20.6 billion, or $1.24 per share, during the July-September period, a 62% increase from the same time last year. Revenue climbed 29% from the same time last year to $83.4 billion.

While the earnings matched the estimates of Wall Street analysts that sway investors, the revenue fell below analyst projections of roughly $85 billion for the quarter, according to FactSet Research.

In a conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook estimated supply shortages cost the company about $6 billion in sales during the quarter. The company's chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, warned sales will be hurt even more during the current quarter that covers the pivotal holiday shopping season.

That sobering reality likely was the main reason that Apple's stock price declined by more than 3% in extended trading after the numbers came out.

“It's not a demand issue but a supply issue that continues to be the elephant in the room for Apple," Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a research note.

As usual, the iPhone remained Apple’s financial engine, with sales of the device rising 47% from last year to $38.9 billion for the quarter. But analysts had predicted iPhone sales of roughly $41 billion for the quarter.

The period marked the end of Apple’s fiscal year — a stretch in which iPhone sales totaled $192 billion, by far biggest volume recorded by the compan