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article imageApple has sold its one billionth iPhone

By James Walker     Jul 28, 2016 in Technology
Apple has sold its one billionth iPhone since its introduction in 2007. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the news to staff yesterday, describing the iPhone as a "world-changing" device. It came amid news that sales declined for the second straight quarter.
Cook held up the one billionth iPhone at an employee meeting in Apple's Cupertino headquarters yesterday. The milestone is significant for Apple, demonstrating the far-reaching appeal of its product. There are now enough iPhones on Earth for one in seven people to own one.
"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," said Cook. "Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day."
It's not all positive for the iPhone though. In Apple's quarterly earnings call this week, the company posted another decline in iPhone sales for the second straight quarter. The smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated and Apple's current flagship, the iPhone 6s, is starting to show its age.
Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 7 next month but analysts are doubtful this will be able to improve the situation. The new device isn't expected to have any head-turning features. Instead, Apple will endure another tough year before launching an extensively redesigned "iPhone 8" in 2017 in celebration of the device's tenth anniversary.
Cook reportedly reassured investors that Apple is capable of taking advantage of new forms of technology. In the press briefing, he provided a brief glimpse into the company's secretive work in artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Considering the worldwide hit Pokémon GO, Cook said Apple is "high on [augmented reality] for the long-run" and investing heavily into its development.
Apple is known for not launching products with new technologies until they have fully matured. This can give investors and consumers the impression that it's running behind other companies. While Google, Microsoft and Facebook are willing to launch beta programs and reveal new products early, Apple prefers to wait until it has a near-final device to show off.
Cook sought to allay fears that Apple is entering artificial intelligence too far behind its rivals. "We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity," he said. "The deployment of artificial intelligence technology is something that we will excel at because of our focus on user experience."
Cook sees these new technologies as a way to boost the popularity of the iPhone, helping Apple to sell its next billion devices. He noted that new apps taking advantage of AI and virtual reality will be compatible with the iPhone and that iOS will continue to support third-party systems. "That's why you see so many iPhones in the wild right now chasing Pokémon's," he said.
For now, this work remains in the future though. Apple's profits fell 27 percent this quarter, due in large part to the iPhone's decline. Apple appears to be betting on next year's iPhone as a way to bring the handheld back to quarterly sales increases. In the meantime, we're likely to see more downward sales revisions as rivals such as Samsung and Huawei place pressure on Apple to launch new unique features.
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