Apple reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday that beat expectations, but revenue fell short of estimates as the company sold fewer iPhones than expected.
The shares fell more than 2 percent after hours.
"We are seeing a kind of delay in purchasing behavior that we think is a consequence of the number of rumors and reports about future products," Apple CEO Tim Cook told
In the year-earlier period, Apple had earnings per share of $1.90 on revenue of $50.56 billion.
Apple's iPhone sales not been expected to make a big leap from last year, as smartphone buying intent has fallen to a nine-year low, according to a survey of 4,075 North American consumers conducted by 451 Research and cited by UBS.
But Wall Street is counting on one key statistic to drive the company's earnings higher later this year: 300 million iPhones may be set for an upgrade this fall, according to venture capitalist Gene Munster.
Apple is tight-lipped about its upcoming products, but analysts have predicted features like OLED displays, wireless charging, and even perhaps augmented reality could come to upcoming iPhone models — putting extra focus on the company's research and development spending.
R&D expenses hit $2.78 billion during the quarter, up from $2.51 billion a year ago.
"We are investing a ton in machine learning and autonomous systems," Cook told CNBC.
Despite the lower-than-expected unit sales, Cook told CNBC that the iPhone 7 Plus sales were "extremely strong."
"We are having significant growth rates beyond what we ever dreamed of," Cook said.
Services revenue rises 18 percent year over year
Meanwhile, Apple has invested in new content, like a Tribeca Film Festival movie, for Apple Music. It's part of a growing source of revenue for Apple, services, which includes digital content, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services.
"In services, the App Store was up 40 percent and our developer community is growing by over 20 percent. There is a lot of momentum," Cook told CNBC.
Cash pile hits $256.8 billion — and tax rate forecast to fall to 25.5 percent in fiscal Q3
Apple's massive cash hoard could become a major windfall for the company under the new presidential administration, which campaigned to cut taxes on the repatriation of cash held overseas.
Cook told CNBC a rate between 6.5 and 10 percent "seems rational" for a one-time tax holiday on foreign-earned income.
China sales fall 14 percent from last year
Apple's biggest Asian revenue source has been under pressure, as the strength of the Hong Kong dollar dampens shopping from mainland China. Sales fell 12 percent year over year last quarter.
"In China, we did similar to last quarter," Cook told
It's a market where Apple faces ever-growing competition from local brands like OPPO,
Warren Capital estimates that there was a nearly 2 percent decline in overall smartphone activations in China during the first quarter of this
Apple Watch and other products
Apple's earnings report comes after Apple released a new version of its 9.7-inch
Watch: What the charts say about Apple earnings