Apple held a conference call yesterday, shortly after announcing its Q4 financial results.

The results made interesting reading, with Apple falling just short of the expected revenue figure of $29.41 billion, making a not-inconsiderable $28.3 billion instead.

The iPhone sold just 17.1 million units against the expected 22 million. But why such a difference between the two numbers, when the iPhone usually sells so strongly? According to Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, the rumor mill is to blame…

When asked why he thought the results were so disappointing, Oppenheimer suggested that the iPhone 5 rumors may be to blame for people deciding not to buy iPhones so close to a refresh. If you remember, many news outlets were predicting a new, teardrop-shaped design to be unveiled at Apple’s iPhone event. This, according to Oppenheimer, caused people to not purchase the iPhone 4.

“Oppenheimer appears to be attributing at least part of the blame for poorer sales of the iPhone 4 on the rumors of a redesigned iPhone 5. “Apple’s secrecy creates a certain amount of vacuum, which, as we all know, the Internet abhors,” Oppenheimer said, “and then fills with rumors.”

The claim makes even more sense when you consider the stellar sales figures coming from the iPhone 4S launch. Did people decide against buying an iPhone 4 with the expectation that Apple would make it obsolete soon after? While the iPhone 4S is indeed a new handset, and it does carry features the iPhone 4 does not, the differences between the two handsets are not as profound as the rumors suggested.

So, there we have it folks: confirmation from Apple itself that our own expectations are to blame for its lower sales figures.

Our bad, Apple!

[The Next Web]