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Apple still isn’t seeing much growth

It expects holiday quarter sales to rise from 2015, but just barely.

Michel Porro / Getty

Apple expects sales to increase slightly in the holiday quarter, marking a return to growth after three consecutive quarters of decline for both the company and its flagship iPhone.

However, the gains are expected to be rather modest. The iPhone maker on Tuesday forecast sales for the current quarter of between $76 billion and $78 billion, up from $75.9 billion in December 2015.

The forecast, which is also slightly ahead of analysts’ projections of $75 billion, comes as Apple released financial results for the July-to-September quarter that largely matched what Wall Street was anticipating. The company posted $9 billion in earnings, or $1.67 per share, on revenue of $46.9 billion.

The company had been expected to report roughly $47 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.65 per share.

Unit shipments of the iPhone, Apple’s most important product, came in at 45.5 million, about what analysts expected. Apple said demand for the iPhone 7, especially the larger iPhone 7 Plus had been more than it had anticipated.

“We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our services business,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Sales of other products were also roughly in line with what most were expecting, with Apple having sold 9.2 million iPads and 4.8 million Macs, both also down from year-ago levels.

One significant bright spot for Apple was its services business, fueled in part by the Pokémon Go craze, which generated $6.3 billion in revenue, up 24 percent from the prior year.

“We think we can continue to grow well,” CFO Luca Maestri said on a conference call with financial analysts.

Sales in China were notably weak, with the quarter’s $8.8 billion in revenue representing a 30 percent year-over-year drop. Some analysts say that the iPhone 7 appears to be helping demand there.

“Apple had a slow first nine months this year but the iPhone 7 series should help it regain lost marketshare, as the demand for iPhone 7 series is tracking better than iPhone 6s series according to our recent channel checks,” market research firm Counterpoint Technology said Tuesday as it released a report showing Apple’s market share in China having dipped to 8.4 percent, down from more than 12 percent a year ago.

In the Americas, sales of $20.2 billion represented a 13 percent drop from the prior year, but a 7 percent increase sequentially. Sales in Japan and Europe were up from a year ago.

Shares of Apple stock dropped in after-hours trading following the earnings report, changing hands recently at $115.48, down $2.77, or more than 2 percent.

This article originally appeared on

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