Apple iPhone sales in 'disappointing' fall

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Earlier this month, the company warned that its holiday sales would be lower than previously expected due to "economic deceleration" in emerging markets and weak demand for iPhones in China, among other factors. Services gross margin hit 63 percent.

The company's shares rose 6 percent to $163.50 in after-hours trading. It blamed China's economy and its discounted iPhone battery replacement program for the lack of smartphone upgrades in 2019.

"When you look at foreign currencies and then particularly those markets that weakened over the a year ago those (iPhone price) increases were obviously more", Cook told Reuters.

If Apple ever had ambitions of moving its iPhone or more Mac assembly to the United States, the tale of a tiny screw might have derailed that. Apple keeps up to 30 percent of the payments it handles. "And so as we've gotten into January and assessed the macroeconomic condition in some of those markets we've made a decision to go back to more commensurate with what our local prices were a year ago in hopes of helping the sales in those areas".

Cook began tackling the test Tuesday with the release of Apple's quarterly earnings report, four weeks after rattled Wall Street by disclosing the company had missed its own revenue projections for the first time in 15 years - a time when the iPod was just beginning to transform Apple.

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Apple said it expects revenue between $US55 billion and $US59 billion for the current quarter ending in March, largely below analysts' average estimate of $US58.83 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

"We generated very strong operating cash flow of $26.7 billion during the December quarter and set an all-time EPS record of $4.18", said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO.

Typically, Apple's earnings report for the holiday quarter is a sight to behold.

USA dollar prices in markets outside America made iPhones more expensive in local currencies. During that quarter Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones, 13.2 million iPads, and 5.1 million Macs. "Our net cash balance was $130 billion at the end of the quarter, and we continue to target a net cash neutral position over time".

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