Steve Jobs

Apple closes stores for Steve Jobs memorial service

Apple is closing its stores while it holds a memorial service for the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple plans to close its shops for several hours so employees can watch the service online. Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees in an email, the service was a celebration for employees to "take time to remember the incredible things Steve achieved in his life and the many ways he made our world a better place". The service, scheduled for 10am local time today at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, will be webcast to employees worldwide.

Jobs’ memorial service will take place in the campus's outdoor amphitheatre, according to Cook's email.

The event follows a memorial at Stanford University on Sunday for friends and family. That service, at Memorial Church, attracted hi-tech giants including Oracle chief Larry Ellison and Microsoft's Bill Gates, as well as politicians including Bill Clinton. U2 frontman Bono and Joan Baez performed at the service.

Jobs died on October 5, aged 56, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Apple failed to set an all-time revenue record in the last three months of Jobs' life. Its financial results came in below expectations yesterday - a rare miss for the company.

After several quarters of record earnings, the July-to-September period saw Apple treading water, with no new iPhone or iPad releases.

Earnings and revenue rose from last year at rates that would be the envy of any large company, but investors had expected the seemingly unstoppable company to do even better.

Net income in the fourth quarter was $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per share. That was up 54 per cent from $4.31 billion dollars, or $4.64 per share, a year ago. Analysts had been expecting $7.28 per share.

Revenue was $28.3 billion, up 39 per cent. Analysts were expecting $29.4 billion.

Cook told analysts that China continues to be the fastest-growing market for the company. In the latest quarter, sales were up nearly four times from last year and made up one-sixth of Apple's overall sales.

"It's an area of enormous opportunity. The sky's the limit in there," Cook said.

Apple sold 17.1 million iPhones in the quarter, which ended September 24. That was well below analyst expectations and the 20.3 million sold in the third quarter.

iPhone buyers had been waiting for a new model, which launched on Friday after the quarter had ended. But compared with the same period last year, iPhone sales were up 21 per cent.

Laptops were Apple's strongest category in the quarter, with sales up 30 per cent from the previous quarter thanks to the release of a new operating system, Lion. Total Mac sales set an all-time record at 4.9 million.

Apple's figures are bucking the trend for the PC market in general, which is seeing anaemic growth.

Apple's forecast for the current quarter was more pleasing to investors. It said it expects earnings of $9.30 per share and revenue of $37 billion.

In the full fiscal year, Apple earned $25.9 billion , or $27.68 per share. That was up 85 per cent from the previous year. Revenue was $108 billion, up 66 per cent.

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