Apple reported a fall in iPhone sales for its second quarter on Tuesday, indicating that the company should move to a more advanced device soon, and that one could be the 10th-anniversary edition of the company's most important product later this year.
Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones in its fiscal second quarter ended April 1, down from 51.19 million a year earlier.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri argued the decline was not as bad as it looked, given the peculiarities of how phone sales are calculated.
The company reports what are called "sell-in" figures for the iPhone, a measure of how many units it sells to retailers, rather than "sell-through" figures, which measure how many phones are actually sold to consumers.
Maestri said the company reduced the volume of inventory going through its retail channel by about 1.2 million units in the quarter, meaning the company sold about 52 million phones to customers on a sell-through basis.
Despite the dip in unit sales, iPhone revenues rose 1.2 percent in the quarter, helped by a higher average selling price.
Apple also boosted its capital return program by $50 billion, increased its share repurchase authorization by $35 billion and raised its quarterly dividend by 10.5 percent.
"We are proud to report a strong March quarter, with revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued robust demand for iPhone 7 Plus," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We've seen great customer response to both models of the new iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition and we're thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for a 13-week quarter. Looking ahead, we are excited to welcome attendees from around the world to our annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Jose."
Expectations are building ahead of Apple's 10th-anniversary iPhone range this fall. The new device range might sport features such as wireless charging, 3-D facial recognition and a curved display.
The company forecast total revenue of between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion for the current quarter.
For the second quarter, the company's net income rose to $11.03 billion, compared with $10.52 billion a year earlier.
Revenue rose 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion in the quarter.
A 17.5 percent jump in the company's services business - which includes the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud - to $7.04 billion, boosted revenue.
Apple's revenue from the Greater China region fell 14.1 percent to $10.73 billion in the quarter, as cheaper rivals in the region chipped away at sales.