Apple decision to keep lid on iPhone sales data unnerves investors

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Apple sold 46.9m iPhones in the quarter, generating sales of $37.2bn, but eyebrows have been raised by escalating price tags which are stretching the wallets of even the most devoted Apple fans.

Apple forecast a tax rate of 16.5 per cent for the December quarter, above analyst expectations of 15.9 per cent, according to data from Refinitiv. Following the publication of Q4 earnings report, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the company's dwindling position in India. Apple fetched an average of $793 per iPhone in the quarter, up 28 percent from the same time previous year.

The iPhone maker's stock is up more than 25 percent for the year, helped by purchases by Warren Buffett and a $100 billion share buy-back program. The company's net income for the quarter was $14.13 billion compared to $10.71 billion a year ago.

Apple has provided investors with this information for the past 20 years, with the upward trajectory of iPhone sales in particular over the past decade helping drive its market value up. While that represents a 14 percent increase in iPhone sales when compared to last quarter, it's about the same number of iPhones sold this time past year.

Apple says instead it'll focus on the revenue generated. The average selling price of iPhones was $793, well above analyst estimates of $750.78.

Apple wants to use the device to promote device upgrades among the already existing iPhone users.

Apple saw double-digit growth across all of its geographic segments, hitting new quarterly records for both Mac and Services. Sales of Apple products have flatlined - iPhone sales barely grew at all last quarter. Revenues were $62.9 billion in the quarter, also ahead of the Street's estimates. iPhone unit sales is where the company's results faltered in the eyes of the investment community. As a point of reference, analysts on Wall Street were anticipating revenue to fall in the $61.59 billion range with EPS to fall around $2.78. That's a new all-time high for the business.

"We were especially pleased with Mac momentum in emerging markets, with strong growth in Latin America, India, West Asia and Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe", said Apple's Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri. The omission of data will make it harder to get a sense of how well Apple is performing. iPhone unit sales are a critical metric that investors and company observers use to weigh its performance. This is because Apple is able to raise its prices and target only high-end customers.

A bright spot for Apple was the company's services business, which includes revenue from the App Store, Apple Music as well as iCloud subscriptions.