Strong iPad sales lead to $8.8 billion profit in Q3 for Apple, as investors worry over iPhone

Apple yesterday announced its financial results for its fiscal 2012 third quarter ended June 30, 2012, and while the company posted a quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion, the results came as a disappointment to many investors who had estimated another monster quarter from the global tech giant.

It's not that sales were bad for Apple. In fact, Apple posted its highest June quarter revenue and earnings ever. The company posted a quarterly revenue of $35 billion and a quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per diluted share. This is compared to the year-ago quarter in which revenue was $28.6 billion and a net profit of$7.3 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share. So with profit up, what's the fuss?

You can blame Wall Street’s expectations of $10.36 per share on $37.1 billion in sales.

Despite selling 26 million iPhones in the quarter, the 28% unit growth over the year-ago quarter came as a disappointment to Wall Street investors who are now worried over slowing growth.

The emphasis of Apple's Q3 financial results, however, was on the iPad – clearly a now the focus for the company – which established new quarterly records for iPad unit sales. Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, an 84% unit increase over the year ago quarter.

“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

In addition, the company sold 4 million Macs during the quarter, a 2% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. A contributing factor was an increase in U.S. education institution Mac sales.

“We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow (now available today) and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall," Cook said. "We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”

Apple sold 6.8 million iPods, a 10% unit decline from the year-ago quarter, but still remains the top selling MP3 player in most countries tracked based on the latest numbers published by GfK. The iTunes store generated $1.8 billion in revenue thanks to strong sales in music, apps, and other content.

Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter, Apple expects revenue of "about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65".