Consumer technology giant Apple’s latest performance figures have been received less than enthusiastically among industry commentators – with some even suggesting that the appeal of the company’s flagship product, the iPhone, may have reached its peak.

Apple’s revenue for the October to December 2012 period, at $54.5 billion, slightly disappointed against expectations – even though it still represented an increase of 18% over the same period in 2011.

Commentators also decried the fact that profits for the period – at $13.1 billion – had failed to increase year on year.

According to some observers, a particularly worrying aspect of Apple’s performance is the fact that sales of iPhones over the period missed their forecast of 50 million units – coming in at just 47.8 million.

Some have suggested the company’s performance may have suffered from tough competition in the European market – given that rival smartphones such as those from Samsung are currently undercutting the iPhone in price.

This suspicion appears to have some credence given that figures for the European market in isolation show growth having dropped year on year from 55% to 11%.

Markets reacted badly to the figures, with shares in Apple dropping 10% following their release.

On a more positive note, sales of Apple’s original tablet, the iPad, matched those forecasted at 23 million – an increase of 7.6 million year on year – whilst demand is said to have outstripped supply for more recent tablet release, the iPad Mini.

Commenting on the figures, Apple said the company remained upbeat, and denied rumours that planned iPhone 5 production volumes would be lowered.