Apple sold fewer iPhones than a year ago in the first three months of 2017, the company said in its latest results, BBC reports.

The California firm, which is due to release a new phone later this year, said it sold 50.8 million iPhones in the period, down 1% year-on-year.

Apple boss Tim Cook blamed a "pause" as customers wait for the next iPhone.

Shares in the firm fell nearly 2% in after-hours trading after earlier hitting a record high on expectations of better results.

Apple reported a 4.6% rise in revenue across the whole company to $52.9bn (£41bn), slightly below analysts' forecasts.

iPhones

The dip in iPhone sales was offset by services, including Apple Pay, iCloud and the App store, which recorded an 18% increase in sales to $7bn.

Mr Cook also pointed to growth in sales of Apple Watch, as well as its AirPods and Beats earphones.

Despite falling unit sales, revenue from iPhones still climbed 1% to $33.2bn due to "robust" sales of its bigger, more expensive iPhone 7 Plus.

This is always the least impressive time of year for Apple's earnings, come as it does after the Christmas period.

But worse-than-expected iPhone sales had investors slightly unhappy after anticipation of strong earnings sent shares to record highs earlier on Tuesday.

Tim Cook told investors he was also pleased with the continued growth of its Services division - that's things like Apple Music, Apple TV, iTunes and so on - but the health of Apple is only realistically measured with the success of that all-conquering smartphone.

Which is why the rest of the year will be exciting to watch.

With the iPhone's 10th anniversary upon us, expectations are high for the next device.

Anything short of a major improvement would be troubling for investors who are banking on the next iPhone being a blockbuster, not an incremental upgrade.

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