Much has been made about Apple's
So why were Apple's earnings weaker than Wall Street had hoped for?
Well, it wasn't because customers were holding off buying a tablet computer as they waited for Amazon.com's
And it wasn't because people were buying Dell
The big difference between Wall Street analysts' expectations and Apple's actual results was related to iPhone sales. Apple sold 17 million iPhones while the consensus estimate was for 20 million. But again, I don't believe the shortfall was because formerly loyal Apple fans were converting to Google's Android-based phones or waiting with bated breath for Nokia's
Apple explained in its conference call that fourth-quarter iPhone sales were affected by rumors surrounding the release of the new iPhone 4S. So what seems to have happened is that people held off buying an iPhone until the new model was released. And buy they have -- Apple recently announced that it sold 4 million new iPhones 4Ses in just three days.
Now as Apple satisfies that pent-up demand, this will be reflected in Apple's future sales and earnings numbers, which I believe are poised to wow investors once again. Apple seems to be thinking the same thing. The company is normally very conservative in its earnings projections -- to the point of being accused of "sandbagging it" -- but management actually issued guidance for the current quarter above what Wall Street was expecting.
Nothing in Apple's fourth-quarter results changes my belief that Apple is worth $500 per share, and possibly much more. Rather than a reason to sell, I believe the recent earnings-induced pullback in Apple's share price is an opportunity to buy Apple at an even more attractive price.
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Joe Tenebruso manages a real-money Rising Star portfolio for The Motley Fool and is an analyst on The Motley Fool's Million Dollar Portfolio and Income Investor premium services. Joe is short put options on Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Dell, Apple, Amazon.com, and Microsoft, as well as creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.