iPhone suffers another sales drop

It was once unheard of, but once again Apple has reported a decline in the number of iPhones being sold.

The device still sells in astronomical numbers, of course – 50.76m handsets were sold in the three months ending April 1st. But that’s down on the 51.19m sold in the same period the year before. iPad sales fell from 10.2m to 8.9m. Mac grew slightly, however, from 4.02m to 4.19m.

None of which stopped revenue or profit growth, The former climbed from $50.6bn to $52.9bn while the latter increased from $10.5bn to $11.03bn.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speculated that people are holding off buying iPhones in wake of the rumours about a big design refresh for the line to mark its 10th anniversary later this year.

The brand is also struggling in China a little, where sales fell nearly two per cent in the face of competition from local rivals such as Samsung and Xiaomi.

iPhone suffered its first declines last year, and only managed to briefly return to growth in the quarter that the iPhone 7 first launched. The handset was widely regarded as a disappointment as it was the first time that Apple had stuck to the same form factor for three successive iterations of the device.

"We are seeing a kind of delay in purchasing behaviour that we think is a consequence of the number of rumours and reports about future products,” Cook told CNBC.

"That is happening. However, if you look at iPhone outside of greater China, iPhone units grew very nicely. We had more upgraders in the first half than ever before. And we had more switchers than ever before. There is a lot of good news in there.

"In services, the App Store was up 40 percent and our developer community is growing by over 20 percent. There is a lot of momentum."

Certainly the pressure is now on Apple to live up to the expectations that the next iPhone will offer a more radical departure from the existing design.

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