Financial analysts forecast another downturn for Apple's iPhone, Mac

They expect a second straight quarter of decline in revenue, sales of phones, tablets and computers

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Credit: REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Apple later today will again announce a downturn for all three of its primary product lines, according to a group of independent and institutional financial analysts.

The June quarter results will nearly mirror those of the first three months of 2016, when Apple reported selling 16% fewer iPhones than in the same period in 2015, marking the first time since the 2007 roll-out that sales for the iconic smartphone contracted on a year-over-year basis.

According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, who formerly blogged about Apple for Fortune but now runs the subscription-based Apple 3.0 website, the nine independent and 18 institutional analysts he queried forecast a fall in unit sales of the iPhone, iPad and Mac lines, as well as another decline in revenue.

Elmer-DeWitt has been collecting and averaging a panel of financial analysts' predictions for years, and continued the chore on his site.

Last year, Apple reported revenue of $49.6 billion, and said it sold 47.6 million iPhones, 10.9 million iPads and 4.8 million Macs. The iPhone and Mac numbers were records for Apple's June quarter.

Although the 27 analysts' revenue estimates collated by Elmer-DeWitt ranged from a low of $41 billion to a high of $43 billion -- the same range as Apple's guidance for the quarter back in April -- their average was $42.1 billion, which would represent a year-over-year decline of 15.1%. That would be a slightly sharper decline than the March quarter, which was down 13% year-over-year.

The reason for the gloomy revenue forecasts was, again, the expected sales performance of the iPhone, which last quarter accounted for nearly two-thirds of Apple's total.

Elmer-DeWitt's panel prophesied that Apple will claim 47.5 million iPhones sold, a 15.5% drop from last year, close to the 16.3% decline last quarter.

The other legs of Apple's primary product tripod will also be weaker than in 2015.

The experts' average call on the iPad was 8.9 million units, a reduction of 18.8% from 2015's June quarter, virtually the same decline as in the March quarter.

Mac sales should come in at 4.3 million, for a 9.5% decline; that would be slightly better than the 11.6% drop of the quarter previous.

The one bright spot will be the Services category that Apple has increasingly touted. That revenue bucket -- which includes revenue from iTunes, the App Store, AppleCare, iCloud, Apple Pay and licensing -- will climb 17.3% to $5.9 billion, the panelists said. Three of the 27, in fact, were much more bullish than the average, and forecast a record for Services.

Apple will audio-stream its earnings call today starting at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET), when it will prove the analysts' forecasts on target or a miss of the barn's broad side.

This story, "Financial analysts forecast another downturn for Apple's iPhone, Mac" was originally published by Computerworld.

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