Apple blames rumor, speculation and Europeans for iPhone sales dip

The specter of the iPhone 5 scuppered Apple smartphone sales in Q3 2012, CEO Tim Cook has suggested, though those pesky Europeans have to share some of the blame for the missed targets too. Speaking on the company's financial results call today, Cook blamed "rumor and speculation regarding new products" for sales of the iPhone dipping to 26m units, with sales in Europe particularly flat. However, the Apple CEO also said he doesn't plan to spend any energy trying to actively prevent pre-launch whispers.

Of the various geographies, iPhone sales were apparently "very strong" in the US and strong in Japan. Greater China was up considerably, with Mainland China up more than 100-percent. However, European sales were basically flat, holding back Apple's overall results for the three month period.

That's more than likely a reaction to the ongoing recession, affecting some parts of Europe more than others. UK growth was sturdy, Apple suggested, but Greece, France and Italy were especially poor, and Germany only saw a slight growth. Stronger performance in Eastern Europe wasn't enough to balance out shortfalls in Western Europe.

As for all the talk of the iPhone 5, expected to be announced in October 2012, Cook did his part to fuel the rumors with the promise of "amazing" products in the pipeline.

"There's an incredible anticipation" Cook said of eagerness for details on Apple's next-gen products, though while the CEO insisted that Apple tries "very hard" to be clandestine with its roadmap, nobody expects the chatter to stop any time soon. In fact, Cook said, the very nature of free speech is something he values, and the CEO is "glad" that customers are looking for the next thing.