×

Apple sales may drop

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Apple is bracing for its first sales decline in 13 years, despite selling a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015, in what may prove to be a turning point for the world’s most valuable company.

The tech giant says revenue could fall at least 8.6 percent during the January-March quarter, compared with a year earlier. Analysts say the latest iPhone models aren’t providing the boost Apple needs to match the massive sales growth it enjoyed last year.

Apple executives painted the downturn as a momentary hiccup. But they also acknowledged the company is working to broaden its business beyond the iPhone itself, which in recent years has provided the bulk of Apple’s revenue.

“We have become more and more of a platform company,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told The Associated Press. He said Apple has a large base of customers – with 1 billion Apple devices now in active use – who can be relied on to purchase new Apple gadgets, mobile apps and services like Apple Music.

Reporting on its financial performance in the December quarter, Apple said it managed to inch past its previous record, established when it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the holiday quarter of 2014. But Tuesday’s forecast implies Apple doesn’t expect to match the 61 million iPhones sold in last year’s January-March quarter.

Apple’s stock has been in a slump for months, as investors worry the company won’t be able to duplicate last year’s growth in sales, which were in the double-digit percentages.