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R.I.P. for real, iPhone X ‘super cycle’

Apple shipped 52 million iPhones last quarter, up 3 percent from the same time last year.

A photographer takes a picture of Apple’s iPhone X at the unveiling event at Steve Jobs Theater. Dan Frommer / Recode

Apple’s just reported second-quarter results were totally fine, and the company, which has been buying back shares like crazy, just launched another $100 billion repurchase program. Shares are up about 2 percent in after-hours trading.

But it’s official: Any hopes that Apple’s sleek iPhone X, released last November, would drive oversized growth in iPhone shipments can be put to rest.

“Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings release.

The result: Apple says it shipped 52.2 million iPhones in the March period, the first full quarter of iPhone X availability. That represents 3 percent year-over-year unit growth — hardly the “super cycle” of upgrades that many analysts had talked up in advance of the iPhone X release.

It’s better than the past couple of years, where iPhone shipments often declined on a year-over-year basis. But just three years ago, iPhone shipments were growing at 40 percent.

The silver lining: The iPhone X’s higher price tag helped second-quarter iPhone revenue grow 14 percent year over year. And that helped drive Apple’s overall revenue growth — 16 percent year over year — to $61 billion. Apple has now reported accelerating revenue growth for six quarters in a row.

Other drivers: Its “other products” category, which includes Apple Watch and AirPods, grew 38 percent year over year last quarter to nearly $4 billion. And its Services business, including the App Store and Apple Music, grew 31 percent year over year last quarter to $9.2 billion.

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