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Apple’s sales forecast suggests a big September iPhone launch, as usual

Apple’s growth rebound continues.

Annual Allen And Co. Investors Meeting Draws CEO's And Business Leaders To Sun Valley, Idaho Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Apple says it sold 41 million iPhones last quarter, posting its third straight quarter of accelerating revenue growth.

But more importantly, its forecast for the current September quarter — when the next, big iPhone launch is expected — is strong. Apple says to expect $49 billion to $52 billion in fiscal fourth-quarter revenue, more than many had anticipated.

This suggests Apple is confident in a big iPhone launch in September — not a delay to October, which is in its next fiscal year. Specifically, Above Avalon analyst Neil Cybart had estimated an October launch would have led Apple to guide fourth-quarter revenue much lower, such as a range of $43 billion to $45 billion.

Overall, Apple reported $45.4 billion in third-quarter revenue, representing 7 percent year-over-year growth. Of note, iPad sales grew for the first time in more than three years, reaching more than 11 million units.

Apple’s Services business, which includes iTunes and the App Store, continues to be a bright spot, and was its fastest growing by year-over-year change in revenue.

But Apple’s “Other Products” category — which includes the Apple Watch, wireless AirPods earbuds and Apple TV — was its fastest-growing segment, percentage-wise, last quarter, with 23 percent year-over-year growth.

On the company’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch sales grew more than 50 percent year over year during the June quarter. Cook also said that AirPods customer satisfaction was 98 percent, and that the company still can’t make them fast enough.

Apple continues to struggle in China, which was its only shrinking market last quarter. Revenue in Greater China declined 10 percent year over year to $8 billion, though Cook explained on the call that Mainland China was about flat while Hong Kong struggled. Perhaps a hot iPhone launch will help.

Shares were up about 5.5 percent in after-hours trading.

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