Apple misses iPhone estimates, but sales and profits excel

The company sold fewer phones than expected but still made more money than predicted

Apple reported an unusual misstep in the April-to-June quarter, selling fewer iPhones than analysts had been expecting, but it wasn't all bad news from Cupertino.

Sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were 47.5 million units, lower than the roughly 49 million phones that analysts had been expecting the company to sell. That immediately hit Apple shares, which dropped by more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

But for the quarter, Apple reported sales of $49.6 billion, up by a third from the same period in 2014 and beating its own financial forecast and the elevated expectations of financial analysts who closely follow the company.

Net profit surged by 38 percent to $10.7 billion, also ahead of estimates.

"We had an amazing quarter, with iPhone revenue up 59 percent over last year, strong sales of Mac, all-time record revenue from services, driven by the App Store, and a great start for Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, in a statement.

But Cook didn't say much more about the Watch. Apple had already said it wouldn't break out sales figures, and in a conference call with analysts, he spoke in superlatives about the launch of the watch and its reception by users -- but said nothing about how many were sold.

He did underline how satisfied he was with sales of the iPhone, saying they came in ahead of internal targets.

"Strong iPhone results were broad based in developed and developing markets, and we experienced the highest switcher rate from Android," he said.

Apple again reported surging demand for its products in greater China. Sales in the region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, were "outstanding," according to Cook, at $13.2 billion. That's more than double the sales achieved in the same period of 2014.

Sales of iPhoness in China jumped 87 percent in the quarter, and Apple achieved its highest ever PC market share in the region, with sales up by a third.

That helped cement China as Apple's second-largest market after the Americas, and putting it well ahead of formerly second-place Europe.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.