NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It was quite comical watching various Apple ( AAPL) scribes and analysts hit the news cycle and social media with calls for calm over the company's earnings miss.
Piper Jaffray analyst-turned-cheerleader Gene Munster could barely contain himself with Maria Bartiromo in a post-earnings CNBC interview. Munster thinks it's time to buy AAPL. In fact, he imagined lines that will extend around "every major mall in America once this thing iPhone 5 comes out." He also let us know that his firm's analysis of "tweets per minute" of iPhone 5 mentions shows that they have "just gone up vertically" in recent weeks. Munster couldn't decide if we should blame the quarter on macro pressure or something more specific like the gap between smartphones. Maybe the tweets-per-minute meter will help him make that determination in the coming days.
What Went Wrong
As for the company, it provided a whole host of reasons why it missed earnings expectations and offered, even by Apple standards, weak fourth-quarter guidance. China is slow. iPhone revenue in Europe was flat year-over-year. The fall transition and the strong dollar will drag on margins, but, rest assured, the product pipeline is stronger than ever. Bulls like Tim Cook latched onto strong iPad sales in the quarter for comfort. Others, such as Ina Fried at All Things D, referred to "the bright side" as the declaration of Apple's $2.65 per share dividend. When the dividend becomes a bright side, you know something is amiss. Let's review some of the carnage: A Q3 EPS miss that comes in $1.06 less than the Capital IQ consensus, according to my Briefing.com feed. Q3 revenue off by more than $2 billion. Q4 EPS guidance for $7.65 vs. the $10.23 Capital IQ estimate, which, again, is low even for the traditionally conservative Apple. A Q4 revenue projection nearly $4 billion below consensus. And there's more. Apple sold 3 million fewer iPhones than Wall Street anticipated, and a half a million fewer Macs (it blamed that on an Intel ( INTC) chip delay). And for Q4, it expects margins to decrease to 38.5%, compared to a consensus estimate of 43.1%. No matter how bulls try to spin it, this is not good. AAPL longs make a huge and incredibly dangerous assumption as they blow off this quarter's miss and take for granted smashing iPhone 5 sales come the holiday shopping season. Munster cited a survey his firm conducted that shows more than 90% of current iPhone owners intend to buy another. I'll spare you the lecture, but if you've studied statistics and survey research at all, you know you cannot trust the unscientific data investment analysts produce. It's almost always poorly gathered.