Apple's third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday was by and large a disappointment, as iPhone sales were much weaker than forecast, with the tech giant selling only 26 million units.> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll The Cupertino, Calif.-based company reported earnings of $9.32 a share on revenue of $35.02 billion for the three months ended in June. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a profit of $10.37 a share on revenue of $37.18 billion. CFO Peter Oppenheimer cited several reasons during the earnings call for the revenue and earnings miss, including economic weakness in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Brazil. He also said consumer speculation about new products was delaying some purchasing and that a delay with Intel's (INTC) Ivy Bridge chips hurt Mac sales in April and May. Guidance for the September quarter was also very weak. Many interpret this to mean Apple is ramping up for the iPhone 5 late in the fiscal fourth quarter or early in the fiscal first quarter. Apple expects revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65. The current consensus expectations are for earnings of $8.57 a share on revenue of $35.21 billion in the September-ending period.
Later in the week, Apple announced a deal to acquire AuthenTec (AUTH), a maker of mobile and network security solutions, for $8 a share. There has already been speculation that the deal might reflect Apple's interest in making the iPhone a mobile payments device. Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um speculates this might be the case. "We believe this deal signals the potential for fingerprint sensors in upcoming Apple devices, which not only increases device security, but could also be a mechanism to assure security needed to execute mobile payments on iPhones," Um wrote in a note. Apple shares fell 3.2% this week to close at $585.16.