Apple's Q4 revenue hits $36 billion, Spotify rival rumored for early 2013

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On the heels of unveiling its iPad mini and new Macs, Apple has reported its fourth quarter financial results, posting revenue of $35.97 billion with net income reaching $8.2 billion ($8.67 a share), up from $28.27 billion and $6.62 billion a year ago. Although its revenue beat estimates of $35.8 billion, the company's earnings fell short of Wall Street's expectations of $8.75 per share.

That miss has prompted a mixed response about Apple's performance, and it doesn't help that the company reportedly lowered its forecast for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 from diluted earnings per share of $15.49 on revenue of $55 billion to $11.75 on revenue of $52 billion. The reason for this change is unclear, though analysts speculate that it's related to ongoing supply constraints. If $11.75 per share holds true, it would mark the first year-over-year decline in Apple's holiday quarter.

During its fourth quarter, Apple shipped 26.9 million iPhones, up 58% from the same period a year ago, 14 million iPads, up 26%, 5.3 million iPods, up 19%, and 4.9 million Macs, up 1%. While the company's iPhone shipments beat expectations by over half a million units, iPad shipments fell a million units short of analysts' already-lowered estimates. The company didn't specify how many of the smartphones were iPhone 5s, which launched on September 21, only nine days before the period closed.

In somewhat related news, alongside Apple's earnings report, Bloomberg claims to have it on good authority that the company has intensified negotations to launch an ad-supported music streaming service within the first three months of 2013. This rumor has been circulating for a while and there aren't many details to share. The service would obviously target Spotify and Pandora, the latter of which would be in a particularly tight spot as its compulsory license offers less flexible streaming controls.

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