America Was Unprepared for a Drop in Apple Earnings

Tickers in this article: AAPL

But that was when the good times were rolling at Apple, and its shares were marching toward $700.

In the first quarter, in spite of record quarterly iPhone and iPad sales of 47.8 million and 22.9 billion, respectively, gross margins shrank to 38.6% from over 44% a year earlier.

Fiscal second-quarter guidance indicates 2013 may be a challenging year for Apple. Apple is forecasting between $41 billion and $43 billion in revenue and gross margins between 37.55% and 38.5%, indicating a slowdown in growth and pressure on profit margins.

For more on Apple's shares, see why investor amnesia might make the company an obvious 2013 value .

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York.