Shortly after Apple’s release of its Q4 financial results, it held an earnings call and took questions. Among those asked where why Apple felt that it missed analyst markers for sales of the iPhone. In reply Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, replied that iPhone rumors, which he classified as “pervasive” had a definite negative fiscal impact on Apple’s business.

The response to Apple’s earnings by those interested in looking deeper has been largely positive as Apple exceeded its own estimates in every category. But because iPhone sales fell below expectations and revenue came in very slightly under, Apple’s stock price has fallen in after-hours trading.

Oppenheimer appears to be attributing at least part of the blame for poorer sales of the iPhone 4 on the rumors of a redesigned iPhone 5. “Apple’s secrecy creates a certain amount of vacuum, which, as we all know, the Internet abhors,” Oppenheimer said, “and then fills with rumors.”

Oppenheimer said that Apple decided to wait on adopting new carriers and countries for the iPhone 4, knowing that they would be launching the iPhone 4S. This may have also had some impact on the quarter. But, Oppenheimer said that the rumors business was behind them and that “we’re selling the 4S, which is off to a fantastic start, we’re thrilled about it and the holiday season.”

In the months leading up to the release of the iPhone 4S, rumors of a redesigned, teardrop-shaped iPhone were hot and heavy. This led some to be ‘disappointed’ when the iPhone 4S was introduced. Although the 4S features a wide array of improved features including a faster processor, redesigned antenna and larger battery, the general consensus was that most rumor traders were expecting a redesign.

Apple feels that these rumors might have hurt sales of the iPhone 4 as buyers waited for a radical redesign to purchase. The logic doesn’t seem to pan out at first glance, as anyone who was interested in waiting for an iPhone knew that one was coming out late this year, even if they did not know what form it took.

Nonetheless, Oppenheimer pointed it out specifically and it is doubtful he would have said anything if Apple didn’t have some reason to do so.

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