Apple posted financial results,'isn't good enough.', investors were not so pleased.

By virtually any measure, Apple posted solid financial results. But for the investors who follow the company, solid just isn't good enough.

Apple's third quarter is typically its slowest. It's sandwiched between the Dad-and-grad shopping season, and the back-to-school and iPhone launch. Yet Apple on Tuesday posted a quarter that most of its rivals would be ecstatic to report. Its revenue was a third higher than the same period last year. It sold 47.5 million iPhones, 35 percent more than a year ago. Sales in China more than doubled. And Apple said it would generate $49 billion to $51 billion in revenue in the current quarter.

Then Apple's shares dropped 6.9 percent to $121.80 in after-hours trading, wiping away roughly $52 billion in market value. Today, it's down 5 percent to $124.16.

So what happened? That third-quarter revenue was only just in line with expectations, not much higher. And iPhone sales were about 2 million short of what Wall Street anticipated. Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that China, while a huge market for Apple, could see some "speed bumps" because of economic woes. Its fourth-quarter forecast looked a little light too.

Welcome to the world of Wall Street, a.k.a. the game of heightened expectations. Apple, by far the world's most valuable company, plays by a different set of rules, one where investors aren't impressed unless they see a blow-out quarter -- every quarter. Instead of taking a victory lap, Apple CEO Tim Cook found himself on the defensive during the company's quarterly conference call with investors.
"We did exceptionally well in any way that you look at it," Cook said on the call. "From our point of view the iPhone is doing outstanding."

For Apple -- which also happens to have $203 billion in cash -- more success leads to more questions. Sure, Apple posted a record third quarter. What happens to iPhone demand in the long term? How many Apple Watches did people buy? Is China slowing down?

It also means more ways to disappoint, well, just about everyone.
"In a vacuum, Apple's results were good," Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um said. "However, relative to expectations, results and guidance were disappointing, particularly with respect to iPhone units."

In some ways, it's a victim of its predictability. Everyone knows it will release its next iPhone in September, even if Apple hasn't confirmed it. And everyone knows the next device won't feature drastic changes like those in the iPhone 6. Because of that predictability, consumers who need new smartphones know to hold out for a few months for the new model -- or at least for the older models to get cheaper.

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