Apple's dominance begins to waver as quarterly reports shows underwhelming iPhone sales

Apple reported growth in sales of the company's flagship smartphone was the slowest year-over-year ever, ending a growth streak that began in 2007, when the original Apple iPhone was first introduced. Revenue increased 1.7% to US$75.87bn, both records for the company.

Apple has reported record quarterly revenues yet again, as a rumoured decline in iPhone sales failed to materialise and income from services and other products like the Apple Watch offset any problems elsewhere.

Apple sold an estimated 800,000 iPhones in India in the fourth-quarter, its highest amount ever, but still just a fraction of the 28 million smartphones sold during that period, according to Counterpoint Technology Research.

Apple's stock has been in a slump for months, as investors worry that the company won't be able to duplicate last year's growth in sales, which were in the double-digit percentages. However, the company still boasts an impressive profit of $18,4-billion.

Looking at the next fiscal quarter of 2016, Apple projects revenue between $50 billion and $53 billion; gross margin between 39% and 39.5%; operating expenses between $6 billion and $6.1 billion; and a tax rate of 25.5%. Following the forecast, the shares of the company have fallen over 5 per cent this year. Apple is also confronting an economic downturn in China, one of its biggest markets.

"It's disappointing to see them miss on an already downward adjusted sales number and the fact is that with their iPhone growth slowing what was needed was a product to be excited about", said J J Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The device, thought to be called the "Apple iPhone 5se", may be launched early in the year - an unorthodox release date window for iPhones - specifically, sometime in March or April 2016.

Apple reported that revenue in China grew to a record $18.4 billion.

Two thirds of Apple's revenue is now generated outside the U.S., Cook explained, "so foreign currency fluctuations have a very meaningful impact on our results".

Kagan said he expects the newest version of the iPhone to spur growth, provided it has the right eye-catching new features.

The drop in share price on Wednesday is expected to be compounded by a decline in the broader US markets, which have been hit by a fall in oil prices and uncertainty before the Federal Reserve's first policy statement this year.

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