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article imageApple blames iPhone 8 rumours for decline in handset sales

By James Walker     May 5, 2017 in Technology
Apple posted its second annual decline in iPhone sales this week ahead of the release of the company's highly-anticipated 10th anniversary edition handset. Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested people are waiting for the new phone instead of buying older ones.
Apple posted quarterly iPhone sales of 50.76 million handsets in its earnings call this week. In the same period in 2016, sales stood at 51.19 million. Although revenue has continued to grow this year – up to $11.03 billion from $10.52 billion – the continued decrease in year-on-year iPhone shipments has surprised analysts and investors.
Commenting after the announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested the company blames the iPhone 8 rumour mill for the flagging sales of last year's handsets. After being asked by UBS analyst Steve Milunovich to address recent findings that purchase intent is at a nine-year low, Cook said widespread media reports about the iPhone 8 "could" be responsible for the lower demand.
"We're seeing what we believe to be a pause in purchases on iPhone, which we believe are due to the earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones," MacRumours reports Cook said. "And so that part is clearly going on, and it could be what's behind the data. I don’t know, but we are seeing that in full transparency."
Although the iPhone 8 is still at least four months away, interest around its new features is already very high. The media has been behind the launch since the iPhone 7 was unveiled nine months ago, suggesting this year's handset, timed to coincide with the device's 10th anniversary, could be the most distinctive yet. Analysts have also chipped in, leading to talk of a "supercycle" that will drive massive sales of the new device.
Apple hasn't changed the basic design of the iPhone in three years, making the iPhone 7 look conservative next to its contemporary Android rivals. The company will introduce a radical new look with its next handset, using a glass and metal body. The screen is expected to be an edge-to-edge panel incorporating an embedded home button and Touch ID sensor.
With the iPhone 8 shaping up to be the most substantial generational upgrade in the device's history, it's likely that some buyers have decided to wait for the device rather than buy an iPhone 7 this year. Despite recent reports that the phone could be delayed by months, enthusiasm for the launch is still running high on social media. Analysts are anticipating multiple sales records to be broken again.
Apple is now thought to be planning a launch in late 2017, just in time for the critical holiday season. It's considered probable that the company will unveil the handset during its traditional September devices event, leaving excited customers waiting a little longer to get their hands on the phone after it is announced.
Apple is also expected to launch the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus – incremental upgrades over the iPhone 7-series – at the same event. They'll represent less costly alternatives for people who are less interested in the iPhone 8's headline features.
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