iPhones set a record, iPads slump and Apple won't talk about the cheap iPhone

High iPhone 5

Apple, as anyone could have guessed, made billions of dollars during the last quarter, raking in $35.3 billion (about £22.9b, AU$37.9b) in revenue and $6.9 billion (about £4.4b, AU$7.4b) in net profit.

This is compared to quarter last year when Apple counted $35 billion (about £22.7b, AU$37.6b) in revenue and $8.8 billion (about £5.7b, AU$9.4b) in profit.

It was by all accounts a subdued third quarter fiscal year 2013 for the Cupertino company, though it still managed to beat out lowered analyst expectations. So, yay?

The fruity firm said it sold 31.2 million iPhones, a record for the June quarter - this time last year it only managed to move 26 million phones. On its call with investors, Apple singled out the iPhone 5 as remaining "by far the most popular" handset, but it was happy with iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 sales, too.

Unfortunately, the iPhone was the only major device category to tally a win. Things were much glummer on the tablet front, with iPads down year-on-year from 17 million to 14.6 million. The marked drop was enough to cause CFO Peter Oppenheimer to describe the quarterly comparison as a "tough" one, though with no new models and the iPad 3 debuting this time last year, it's not entirely unexpected.

Macs also took a slide from 4 million in the year-ago quarter to 3.8 million last quarter.

Into the future

Perhaps it's the mid-summer heat, but Apple's earnings call seemed to drag on especially long.

Granted, who can really be roused through an hour of channel inventory and profit margin proselytizing, but it was CEO Tim Cook and Co.'s unusual arms-length answers that made the call particularly humdrum.

There were, mercifully, a few interesting tidbits to pull from the little that was given.

The rumored trade-in program that Apple is said to be plotting for iPhones came up, and though Cook deflected with a "we haven't announced anything, so everything is a rumor" answer, he said that he's not opposed to the idea and he likes the "environmental aspect" of it.

He also noted that iPhones hold value and that successful trade ins are successful in certain channels.

When baited about the possibility of a cheap iPhone, Cook deflected again, this time by bringing up how well the iPhone 4 performs at the entry-level. It may be the most leaked phone in the world at this point, but Cook wasn't going to let any budget iPhone hints drip on this call.

For what it's worth, Cook did say he doesn't prescribe to the idea that the high-end phone market has it its peak, "but we'll report our results as time goes on."

Aside from Japan, Apple had a difficult quarter in international markets, with sales in the Greater China region plummeting 14 percent year-on-year and a whopping 43 percent from last quarter. Cook kept calm, but perhaps it's time to start pushing out a more affordable handset to emerging markets?

As was mentioned last quarter, Apple has new products planned for the fall and across 2014, but there was no specification on what those might be or what categories Apple is targeting. Anticipation is that the company will introduce the iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 by the end of 2013 or early 2014, and an iWatch is also believed to be in development.

Oppenheimer did leave an intriguing hint: The CFO said his employer is "on track to have a very busy fall," with more detail due in October - or at Apple's next earnings call. Could we dial in then to hear, "We just recently launched...?"

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.