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]

  • Xepptizz

    Not just that though. The expectations people had are partially due to the grow of the smartphone company in general. It was expected that apple would follow the trend, but that doesn’t sound very apple just putting it down like that. I guess Apple isn’t a people pleaser, but strives to be pleasant for people.

    • killa

      exactly +1

  • Thor

    In my opinion they did make the 4 obsolete. Especially without siri. Of course people held out. Who wants to get stuck with an obsolete phone for nearly two years?

    • bc

      The iPhone 4 is obsolete. That’s funny. You are joking right?

    • me

      Wow that must mean my 3Gs is made out of stone…

    • James

      You say that like every1 gives a shit about Siri or a dual core processor, the only thing that the 4S has that is actually warranted is the better camera .. I’m glad there are people like me who aren’t fanboys and don’t just buy it because it’s new and has new features, personally the 4S is a fail imo, there is nothing wrong with the 4 as is and all I wanted was a new design and improved things that matter .. Sibnce when did you need 2 processors to run Angry Birds ?? There isn’t 1 game that runs any differently on my mates 4S than on my 4, faster load times ?? big deal, Siri ?? big deal, I can send a text and make a noto without being so lazy I have to resort to speaking it and before any douchebags chip in with the whole “it’s better cos you can use it while driving instead of using the handset” that’s a bullshit reason, you shouldn’t be doing anything whilst driving that takes away from your attention to the road.

      Back to the point though, Thor, you are an idiot if you think the 4 is obsolete, what an assumption to imply that people only care about Siri, you need your fucking head testing !!!

      • j.johnson

        I understand that you don’t want an iPhone 4S. But how is the iPhone 4S, which is technically superior than your current device, a fail? As you noted it has a better camera, has a better graphics chip to play better games, faster processor to assist in that aspect, Siri, Air Play mirroring, and a redesigned antenna. The only thing that is the same in “most” regards is its physical appearance. Something better than your device in “almost” every way can’t really be a fail can it? I believe it is something some people may not be able to afford or justify for themselves…but fail I think not. Granted…this is only my opinion. Good day.

    • Scott

      Not really. The only thing I would like to have on my iPhone 4 is Siri. Other wise my 5 MP camera takes good pictures and the phone does what I need it to do. I will probably not get another iPhone and go with an iPad with 3G and a prepaid phone. I barely talk on the phone. Most use is text and data.

  • kirk

    If they released the Phone ON TIME, there wouldnt be enough time for the rumors to affect your sales. I hated the rumor mill surrounding the thing but they are blaming the wrong persons here. Next get your shit together AND on time!

    • +1 to Kirk!!!

      Yea, the “rumor mill”…. Rightttttt…….

      Hey Oppenheimer, the “blame game” stopped when you left High School (well, normally it does)!!!

      The fact is that Apple passed by the “normal” release cycle for the iPhone, thus leading us to expect more than just the same iPhone 4 design with a hopped up processor and 3 extra mega pixals and now the phone can talk back at you!!! Waaahhhhhoooo…….

      WTF, we waited that long for this!!!

      • MALdito

        I agree with Eric. The same, extremely breakable glass crap, a Dual Core A5 processor, 8MP camera & 64GB storage. All & all, its not that big a deal considering it still DOESN’T HAVE 4G LTE! As far as Siri goes, really? REALLY? Just another gimmick like Facetime (which is/was a failure)

        Me: Hey Siri (Press and hold home button)…
        Siri: How can I help you?
        Me: Go get me a beer bitch!
        Siri: …..

        See?! Failure!
        & Thats what we waited all that extra time for?

        -MALdito

        P.S. You forgot to sign ur name Eric

    • kokhean

      The upgrade is only good for people who are still using a 3GS, 3G, 2G, and people who did not purchase an iPhone before. Otherwise, users with an iPhone 4 will hardly find any speed differences.

  • Yasser

    I think Apple is to blame for the rumors because they stay so ridiculously tight lipped about what to expect for their next release and when those releases will happen. Maybe if they had clarified some of the rumors going around people wouldnt have such high expectations. I personally got really of hearing rumors about 6 months ago.

    • SyGood

      Exactly. Apple profits from the rumor mill that comes from secrecy and then complains about it. Can’t have it both ways Apple!

    • j.johnson

      Maybe they stay tight lipped because they are not sure that everything can be upgraded, tested, and meet expectations all within 1 year. I fully beleive the tear drop design was being worked on but could not make the June release so they went with another product. Im not sure how many companies release R&D information before a product is completed. this is a business and competetion. Why should they give inside information away and possibly give competitors an upper hand/head start?

  • Martin

    Good move Apple! Blame the people that are the most passionate about your products.
    Rumors are what also provide Apple with extraordinary hype and anticipation. I seriously doubt removing the rumors would result in a better bottom line. This excuse is a total cop out.

  • The Regulator

    I believe as consensus we all know now that redesigned iphones will be introduced every two years. as a result we can now spend a little less time guessing what the next iphone is going to look like and a little more time ummm….. guessing what the next iphone is going to look like? -___-
    anyway lessoned learned and we can all move on with our lives, which for some is actually guessing what the next iphone is going to look like.HAHAHA figures. Rumor on rumor mill, rumor on…

    • Byrd

      +1

  • Jas God

    apple still made $28 billion tho.. c’mon now. next time just do the right thing and release the 5.. lol. ain’t no one really checkin for the 4S. except sprint users-

  • Chris Petrie

    It was long expected that the new iPhone 4 would be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Granted if they were only revamping the existing iPhone 4, I don’t think all of the secrecy was needed. I have not noticed anything speed wise different but the speaker is louder on 4S as well as Siri being useful while driving. Still, not enough reason to switch up phones in my opinion.

  • Absenm

    It’s wasn’t the rumors that caused the problem. Anyone with even the slightest sense of pattern recognition knew a new phone was coming out. So Apple, don’t go blaming your fans for being smart of noticing the trend.

    However, now I need to backpeddal on that slightly. Us sly iPhone fans also should have noticed the deeper pattern. The one where there is a form factor redesign, followed by a speed redesign the next year. We all should have seen the 4S (and not the 5) coming.

    In the end I think blame can be spread all over the place. I had talked to a ton of people who were interested in the iPhone. And I told each and everyone of them to wait till fall for the refresh. If you’re gonna spend $200 – $300, just wait a couple of months I told my friends and family. And I stand by that advice.

    On the profit margin issue I will say thing. I really don’t think Apple was Blaming their fans. I think they were simply telling the truth to their shareholders. “We didnt sell as many because people were waiting for a new phone”. As the 4S proved, it didn’t matter how radical the design, as long as it was a new model.

  • Absenm

    As on a side note. If Apple had made their announcement in June I was fully expecting only a 4S type thing. But after they delayed I got it into my head that surely they must be working on something radical if they were going to miss their normal schedule. Though truth of the matter is Apple NEVER ever promised or even suggested they would release a new phone every summer. So it was my own assumptions that got the better of me.

    • pegger

      Apple never said it was delayed. That’s all rumours and assumptions as usual. Apple released the phone exactly when they said they would. And they never mentioned any phone until they had the announcement, at which time they gave the release date.

  • Tbv

    The iPhone 4S was a disappointment to me. My wife and I were ready to go out and buy 2 new factory unlock iPhone 4S/5 until we saw the actual iPhone 4S. Thank you Apple, I will be holding onto my $1300(for 2 iPhones) until the release of the next iPhone.
    Everyone already knows it will have a better camera and the A5 processor from the iPad 2. I wanted a larger screen, which did not happen. I can live without 4G.
    I will stick with my iPhone 4 and be perfectly happy until the iPhone 5 comes out.

    • pegger

      If you’re perfectly happy with what you have, why would you be disappointed in the new one.

    • matt

      The iPhone 5 won’t come out at all. It will be the iPhone 6 (or whatever they decide to call it). iPhone 5 would suggest it’s the 5th iPhone, when in actual fact it will be the 6th. Just saying…

      • 6112115

        Idiot

      • matt

        Not really. It would be the 6th iPhone, therefore why would they call it iPhone 5? Cunt.

  • Alex

    The iPhone 4S is almost a completely new beast compared to the original iPhone 4. If only they changed the appearance slightly, say, using a somewhat different backplate, sales may have gone better.

    Apple’s Q4 performance may have been recordbreaking, but if it falls short of investors expecations, the stock price goes down. Apple, itself, is an extremely profitable company. Apple executives and managers all make good salary and considerable performance bonuses, regardless of share price. However, when sales are poorer than expected, it is the investors that take the hit.

  • iTildatrud

    IMO, the only difference/improvement iPhone 4S has over the iPhone 4 are: A5 processor, 8MP camera & 64GB storage. Siri seems awesome, but not so much to convince the average user to upgrade from their current models. Just like when the iPhone 4 was released, a lot of people were highly impressed with Facetime. However, majority decided to upgrade their iDevice largely due to the iPhone 4’s new, sleek design & its retina display. Not because of Facetime.

    True story.

  • green_comet

    Apple can fix this problem easy, make a device that meets everyones expectations.

  • MALdito

    “Pfft” No, Its obvious that it was your lack of an iPhone 5 that negatively affected your sales, you f*cking idiots!

    • MALdito

      That, and the iPhone 4S was a major disappointment.

    • MALdito

      And if your gonna argue about specs (Dual Core A5 processor, 8MP camera & 64GB storage) its not that big a deal considering it still doesn’t have 4G LTE. And Siri, really, REALLY? Just another gimmick like Facetime (which is/was a failure).

  • Absenm

    I am amazed at the degree of anger a lot of people have toward the 4S. I honestly believe half of you wouldn’t have thought the same way if they simply called it 5. The other half is because the screen isn’t larger. I think if those two things would have been different almost everyone who is complaining would have been satisfied. For me, 5 is just a name, and the screen size is perfect. Anything larger and I might as well carry an iPad. I just don’t understand what else Apple was supposed to do. It’s nearly twice as powerful. And has a better camera. And though I think Siri would work fine on a 4, I’m sure it’s much more responsive on the 4S. What else did you all want? And I’m serious I want to know. Again I understand a larger screen. But aside from that what revolutionary new feature should have been included. Battery is about what one could expect in a A5 device in such a small form factor. It’s a world mode phone. It goes up to 64Gb. I understand it can’t X-ray my colon or do my laundry, but I can ask Siri to find me places to do that. ;). I just don’t understand what else beyond the name and screen size is causing all this hostility. Maybe a virtual fullsize laser keyboard or projection system or 3D should have been included. But honestly those things are as silly X-ray suggestion. Come on. Someone give me a well reasoned cause for such anger.

  • Absenm

    And if you want to argue the LTE point, fine. But then also address the benefit of an iPhone with half the battery life of an iPhone 3G.

    • MALdito

      I’m not angry, just disappointed that we had to wait extra time for a iphone that looks like the previous one, is only slightly better, and has a corny gimmick. On top of that, they have the balls to bitch about “boo hoo, our billion dollar bottom line was slightly off bcuz of rumors.” Just like with the antenna issue in the iphone 4 (your holding it wrong), they wanna play the blame game and tell us its our fault because we expected better?
      Rally? Come on (-_-) . I thought Apple was better then that.

      • Absenm

        That was a reasonable response. Thank you for not flaming me for my potentially controversial comments.

        I agree that a software update (Siri) should not have been highlighted in a hardware update. I wouldn’t call it corny. It is pretty cool. In the same respect FaceTime is cool, but just a fluff feature.

        I do disagree it is only slightly better. Again I point out the doubling of speed and 7x graphics power. The 4S compared to my 4 is significantly improved speed wise. Beyond the level of difference between my 4 and my old 3G.

        Now you also mentioned looks. Valid point. It looks the same. But. I guess I don’t understand what people wanted it to look like. The perfect shape for a baseball is a sphere. The perfect shape for a smartphone is rectangular. The only other optimal design style would have been going back to the 3Gs style. If that’s what people want, then great. But I think it’s just some unimportant curves. Glass vs plastic. Also fine. But most smart phone users get cases anyway, not so much for protection then to personalize the phone. So who is even gonna see the glass back.

        As far as the atteniagate problem. Your right that was totally Apples fault. And they should have accepted responsibility for that. But that isn’t a 4S issue with the smart switching feature.

        And as far as blaming end users. I don’t think that happened. They made a statement of fact. People stopped buying the iPhone 4 because they were waiting. Just a fact. The shareholders wanted to know why they didn’t meet expectations. Fact. They didn’t meet expectations because people were holding out. There is nothing else they could have said. Not one single thing. If you wanna say Apple lost money because they kept quiet, then your grasp of business is limited. If apple had said “we are releasing a new phone this fall” even more people would have held out. It was simply smart business to keep the secret. They were going to take their lumps. Being quiet meant less lumps.

      • MALdito

        All valid responses. I just want to clear up a couple of things though. The reason I thinks Siri is corny IS bcuz it was highlighted in the hardware update, where it has no place, that and I dont really see too much practicality in it. I call facetime corny bcuz it isn’t practical since you need wifi. All other things I kinda agree on. But in the end its apple fault that their sales took a hit. And if keeping quit is the plan, then they should have been expecting this to happen and no complain about it.

  • SIRIusBLaCK

    I believe that apple won’t release next iphone. I bet they already had much more futuristic gadget. Maybe 3D-holographic-talk-transparant-solar battery-phone..

  • clementine

    I’m one of those people who did not purchase the 4S because it really is so similar to the 4. I’m holding off for the 5!

  • Rumors? Rumors cut into profits?

    Uh, you’ll notice that Android is growing by leaps and whereas Apple is somewhat stagnant in that regard in the cell phone market. It could well be that Apple simply isn’t growing as much as hoped or projected.

    Apple blaming its fans for something that could well be the natural result of a competing OS is terribly cheap but none too surprising.

    The iPhone 4 itself could be the very reason for reduced sales. My iPhone 4 was adequate when I got it in July 2010, but it is very outdated now — it’s slower than competing high-end Android phones, has a dinky screen, no 4G capability and a bunch of terrible gimmicks like Facetime and Games Center. While Android manufacturers were going nuts with dual-core CPUs, big screens, etc. and Google was greatly tweaking Android in terms of both looks and performance, Apple made a big deal out of releasing an iPhone that was white. The plain vanilla OS was essentially the same and the specs didn’t change, but the phone was white. Wow.

    You’ve got to wonder — unless you’re a die-hard Apple fan, what would make you grab an iPhone 4 and jump into a two-year contract for a phone that was showing its age last fall? Why wouldn’t you wait for something better or at least see what the competition has to offer?

  • Fahad Nazir Mohammad

    Ok after this all story a simple question that – will Apple is going to make a iPhone 5 – yes or no if yes then when will start