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Apple posts surprise fall in iPhone sales

News 02 May 2017

left right An Apple iPhone 7 and the company logo are seen in this illustration picture taken in Bordeaux, France, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignain 1/2 left right The Apple logo is pictured on an iPhone in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau 2/2

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales for the second quarter on Tuesday, indicating that customers had held back purchases in anticipation of the 10th-anniversary edition launch of the company's most important product.

Shares of the world's most valuable listed company were down 1.2 percent at $145.78 in after-hours trading.

The company boosted its capital return program by $50 billion, increasing its share repurchase authorization by $35 billion and raising its quarterly dividend by 10.5 percent.

Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones in its fiscal second quarter ended April 1, down from 51.19 million a year earlier.

Analysts on average had estimated iPhone sales of 52.27 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

However, revenue from the smartphones rose 1.2 percent in the quarter.

Expectations are building ahead of Apple's 10th-anniversary iPhone range this fall, with investors hoping that the launch would help bolster sales.

Apple typically launches its new iPhones in September.

A big jump in sales usually follows in the holiday quarter, before demand tapers over the next few quarters as customers hold back ahead of the next launch.

Apple's 10th-anniversary iPhone range might sport features such as wireless charging, 3-D facial recognition and a curved display.

The company forecast total revenue of between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion for the current quarter, while analysts on average were expecting $45.60 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts on average expect the company to sell 42.31 million iPhones in the current quarter, according to FactSet.

The company's net income rose to $11.03 billion, or $2.10 per share, in the second quarter, from $10.52 billion, or $1.90 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected $2.02 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion in the quarter, compared with analysts' average estimate of $53.02 billion.

Apple's revenue from the Greater China region fell 14.1 percent to $10.73 billion in the quarter, as cheaper rivals in the region chip away at sales.

A 17.5 percent jump in the company's services business – which includes the App Store, Apple Pay and iCloud – to $7.04 billion boosted revenue.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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