The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
First, the $26 after-hours selloff reiterates our belief that investors must be conservatively invested during an earnings report. The inherent uncertainty is impossible to predict. We are very pleased to have 70% of the EconomicTiming.com portfolio in cash with 20% of it in low risk April 2012 $350 calls. After a $70 move off the $354 low this was the right move to make. We should only be fully loaded at lows.
Second, the fundamental reason for the earnings miss is extremely important. The Street is disappointed with the 17 million iPhone number but is that disappointment warranted?When the iPhone 4 was brand new it sold 14 million units. As an ancient piece of technology, it still sold 17 million units even though the entire universe knew a new phone was coming in October. The problem stems from unrealistic expectations. There were surprising analyst reports released during the quarter that suggested iPhone sales were trending ahead of expectations. Those analyst reports were counter intuitive at the time and proved false in the end. Apple was in uncharted waters during this quarter in terms of precedent; the delay in the iPhone 4S caused a year-over-year gap in the cycle. This anomaly caused by a change in the Apple calendar should not be extrapolated. The iPhone is still a great product and the 4 million iPhone 4S units sold on opening weekend is the real barometer of demand. The software upgrades including iCloud and Siri should help the iPhone to surpass 30 million units sold in the holiday quarter. Third, Tim Cook continues to talk up the prospects of Chinese growth. China accounted for 16% of Apple revenue. Rather than building large quantities of new Apple retail stores in the country, Cook revealed that Apple has partnered with over 200 high-end Apple resellers and also revealed that Apple has over 7,000 points of sale for the iPhone. China is now No. 2 on Apple's list of top-revenue countries after the Asia Pacific region grew by 139% year over year. Chinese market share growth will be Tim Cook's legacy.