Apple has reported a decline in iPhone sales for the first time, forcing down quarterly revenues and raising product pressure on the company, agencies report. The world’s most valuable firm by market value said it sold 51.2 million iPhones in the first three months of 2016.
That was down on the 61 million sold a year earlier but slightly better than had been predicted. It had a predictable effect on revenues, which fell by 13% to $50.6bn – just shy of expectations. It meant that Apple recorded the first dip in quarterly sales since 2003.
The iPhone, first launched in 2007, accounts for almost two-thirds of its revenue. The company is battling perceptions that its latest iPhones are not dramatically different from previous models in an increasingly competitive market that has also eased – partly due to the world economic slowdown.
Sales of Mac computers and iPads also declined. Apple’s share price fell 8% in after-hours trading. That was likely a consequence of the company forecasting another revenue drop of 13% or more in the current third quarter.
A pledge to return an extra $50bn to shareholders by the start of 2019 did nothing to halt the decline in the stock’s value in extended trading.
Apple’s value has plunged by more than a fifth over the past year in a development that ramps up the pressure on the looming iPhone 7 range expected later this year. Chief executive Tim Cook said: “Our team executed extremely well in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds.
“We are very happy with the continued strong growth in revenue from Services, thanks to the incredible strength of the Apple ecosystem and our growing base of over one billion active devices”.
Apple has said it is expanding its other interests to help offset the smartphone sales decline. Angelo Zino, a financial analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “They need to come out with that next great product.
“Apple absolutely needs to start diversifying their revenue base,” he added.