Apple Inc (AAPL) Stock Halted, But Now Sideways After Hours

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has just announced fourth quarter earnings of $8.67 a share, which is a record for the period, but eight cents below the Street’s consensus of $8.75 a share. As we originally reported yesterday, many analysts believed that Q4 simply “did not matter” for the company, as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s product lifecycle was too new to have any material effect on its bottom line. Well, it appears that investors are mixed on the results – not unlike the cases of most high-profile EPS misses – and shares of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) are currently trading (after-hours) near Thursday’s closing price of $609.

As has been reported heavily across the blogosphere, much of the blame for this miss has been placed on the iPad. In the quarter, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold close to 14 million of its signature tablet, which is below the majority of analyst estimates, which ranged between 15 and 16 million units. It should be mentioned that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stock was halted before the company released its Q4 results, which came only hours after reports surfaced of the company’s commitment to an online streaming radio service by 2013.

Obviously, this affects Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) quite significantly, but we don’t have to tell you that. We’ve covered Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s supposed venture into streaming music quite significantly, and view the company’s shut-down of Ping as a natural harbinger of a move into Pandora’s territory. Check out some of our previous coverage of this situation, you won’t want to miss it:

Will Apple Launch a Facebook Enabled iTunes 11?

Why Did Apple Shut Down Ping, Its Social Network?

Google Leaks Apple Product Announcement Early

Let us know your take on Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s potential Pandora killer, and if you believe Pandora is now dead in the water after losing close to 12% today.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.