iPhone sales set to plummet, and the iPhone 7 will not save the day

Even taking into account the iPhone 7, Apple could see iPhone sales fall by around 11 percent to 18 percent.

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Apple warned back in January during its quarterly investor call that revenues would be down this quarter - around $50 billion to $53 billion, compared to $58 billion for the year-ago quarter - and since the iPhone is the product that's responsible for driving much of the company's revenue and profits, it's clear where the weakness is going to be.

But just how bad could iPhone sales be?

The "worst case" answer, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, analyst at KGI Securities, is very bad.

According to a recent note to investors, Kuo - who is normally very good when it comes to Apple predictions - sees a worst-case scenario possibility where shipments during 2016 fall to below that for 2014, with the company selling somewhere between 205 million to 190 million iPhones over the year.

That might sound like a lot of units, but year-over-year that's a decline of around 11 percent to 18 percent.

This will be the first time that the iPhone has seen a decline in sales since it was released back on 2007.

But surely the iPhone 7 will save the day?

Maybe not.

According to Kuo, there just aren't "many attractive selling points for the iPhone 7," with the big changes being held back until 2017 (which will be the 10 year anniversary for the iPhone) when Apple is expected to refresh the design and switch to AMOLED displays.

It looks like it could be a very rough year for Apple. But it's still important to put things into perspective. Even with sales at 2014 levels, Apple is going to pull in a ton of money, so the sky is hardly falling.

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