Are iPhone sales set for a record slump?

Apple is expected to report its lowest ever growth in smartphone sales

iPhone sales have experienced their slowest ever growth this quarter, Apple is expected to report today.

During its latest earnings call, Apple will reportedly announce a sales increase of just over one per cent for its iPhone range, according to Reuters.

If true, this is the slowest growth rate the iPhone has experienced since its launch, leading to speculation that the bubble may have finally burst.

Many factors are behind the slowdown, according to industry observers, who cite the economic downturn in China as a major cause, the country being one of the iPhone's major markets.

The iPhone may also be approaching a point of diminishing returns, thanks to plateaus in technological advancements.

Sales of previous iPhone generations continue to be strong, indicating that consumers do not feel that Apple's yearly device refreshes provide enough improvements to justify an upgrade.

Many are sticking with older models, or staying one model behind the current cycle.

Some are going with biennial upgrades, and are planning to move straight from the iPhone 6 to the forthcoming iPhone 7, skipping the 6s altogether.

The company also faces stiff competition from Asian rivals like Samsung, which has now become a serious competitor in the premium handset bracket.

Profit forecasts could be further dented by the news that the main iPhone manufacturing centre, a Foxconn plant in China, fell victim to fire this week.

There were no casualties, however, and a spokesperson insisted that production would not be adversely affected. 

The predicted downturn comes just a year after Apple recorded record profit and revenue thanks to demand for the iPhone 6.

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