Apple reports another fall in sales in line with expectations

Computer and gadget group struggling with sluggish demand and challenges to its market in China

Apple sales declined for a fourth straight quarter, marking the longest slowdown since 2001, as the company struggles with sluggish demand and a shaky smartphone market in China.

Revenue fell to $89.5 billion (€84.3 billion) in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on September 30th, compared with the average Wall Street estimate of $89.4 billion. Apple didn’t provide formal guidance for the current quarter, sticking with a policy it adopted during the pandemic.

The 1 per cent decrease in sales from the previous quarter was not unexpected. Apple did enjoy $43.81 billion in iPhone revenue, a quarterly record, according to Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

The results suggest that Apple is facing a bigger slowdown in China than feared. The government there has imposed iPhone bans in some workplaces, and a new phone from Huawei Technologies is providing fresh competition.


Apple shares fell 1.5 per cent in late trading after closing at up over 2 per cent at $177.57 in New York. The stock had been up 37 per cent this year.

Apple updated the iPhone, its flagship product, during the fourth quarter. The period included a little over a week of sales data following the device’s launch on September 22nd. The company also released new watch models – the Series 9 and Ultra 2 – and updated its AirPods Pro to add a USB-C port.

The iPhone accounts for roughly half of Apple’s sales, so the launch of a new model is closely watched by investors. With the iPhone 15, the company redesigned the high-end versions – giving them titanium cases – and added features such as a more powerful zoom camera lens. The hope was to entice smartphone shoppers who have been holding on to their old models for longer these days.

The results follow an upbeat view from Qualcomm, the leading maker of smartphone chips. On Wednesday, it forecast stronger sales for the current quarter than analysts expected, kicking off a rally for its stock.

The personal computer market also is poised for a rebound, but Apple didn’t debut any new models during the quarter. It did unveil new MacBook Pros, iMacs and M3 processors earlier this week, but sales of those machines won’t show up in Apple results until the quarter ending in December.

Revenue for the September quarter might have been stronger if the company had released new iPads during the period, which it sometimes does, or made more significant changes to its accessories. The latest Apple Watches and AirPods only represent modest tweaks from their predecessors. – Bloomberg