Apple not expecting a very merry holiday

The company, which tends to be overly conservative with its estimates, issues a forecast for its first quarter ending in December, calling for per-share earnings of $11.75 and revenue of $52 billion -- short of Wall Street expectations.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
Apple store on 5th Avenue and Central Park during the original iPad first day on sale Dan Farber/CNET

Apple isn't expecting a very happy holiday season, financially anyway.

The company today issued its forecast for its fiscal first quarter ending in December, calling for per-share earnings of $11.75 and revenue of $52 billion.

That's short of Wall Street's average forecast of $15.43 a share in earnings and $55.02 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. Apple is known to be overly conservative with its own estimates, and Wall Street investors often pump up their own projections a little higher.

Still, the expectations call for growth in the quarter and underscore Apple's continued dominance in the technology world, with products that are not only selling at a rapid clip, but selling for a higher profit than its competitors. The iPhone, in particular, has Apple reaping nearly all of the handset industry's profit, with Samsung Electronics the only other significant winner in the segment.

The forecast comes on the heels of mixed results for the company, which was bogged down by supply constraints. As a result, the company couldn't sell as many iPhones that it wanted, cutting into its profit.

Conversely, the carriers all sold fewer iPhones than expected, which yielded higher profits because they didn't have to pay Apple as high a subsidy that initially thought.

That, however, could be poised to turn around as Apple works out its supply kinks and sales begin to flow during the holiday shopping period. Analysts point to the December quarter as they key indicator for the success of the iPhone 5.