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Apple beats Wall Street forecasts

AppleApple has sold more iPhones than Wall Street had expected in the latest quarter, and the company forecasts higher-than-expected revenue for the critical holiday-shopping season.

The world’s most valuable publicly traded company says it sold 45.51 million iPhones in the three months ending September 24, beating the average analysts’ estimate of 44.8 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

However, it was the third quarter in a row of falling iPhone sales. Apple sold 48.05 million smartphones in the year-earlier period.

Apple forecast revenue of between $US76 billion ($A99 billion) and $US78 billion for the current quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected $US75.08 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in the latest quarter fell 9 per cent to $US46.85 billion, the third straight decline.

That meant annual revenue fell for the first time since 2001, highlighting the slowdown in the smartphone market as well as intensifying competition, particularly from Chinese rivals.

Analysts had expected revenue of $US46.94 billion in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While the iPhone 7 has not been out long enough to have had a full impact on this quarter’s numbers, Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino believes that it has helped Apple to moderate the pace of revenue decline.

“Even so, revenues are still down by 9 per cent over last year indicating that Apple is a long way off the steep growth trajectory it once enjoyed.

“With more investment going into stores, and with those store selling fewer products than they once did, it is not surprising that net income is on the slide. Indeed, Apple will be particularly disappointed with its rare full year profit decline.”

The change in Apple’s fortunes is partly down to the fact that it is no longer firing on all cylinders. Previously, Apple was able to rely on strong sales of phones, tablets and computers to drive up revenue and profit across all geographies. This is no longer the case, according to Saunders.

“Tablet sales are in decline. Growth from computers, which are long overdue a refresh, is weak. And consumers in some markets are saturated with product which makes growth much more difficult to attain. The latter is exacerbated by the fact that new releases, such as the iPhone 7, have been iterative rather than innovative.”

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