iPhone sales will tumble in 2016, claims Morgan Stanley analyst

OK, it's that time of year when analysts make big predictions about the coming year, but this one from Morgan Stanley's chief financial analyst Katy Huberty is really bold.

The iPhone has been a massive cash cow for Apple, and sales have grown every year since its release, but according to Morgan Stanley's chief financial analyst Katy Huberty that's all about to change in 2016.

Here is a chart of iPhone sales to date, with a four-quarter trendline added.

iPhone quarterly sales

According to Huberty, unit sales of the iPhone are set to tumble during Apple's 2016 financial year by as much as 5.7 percent. In real terms that means that sales for the 2016 financial year will fall to 218 million units, down from 231 million for 2015.

According to a research note by Huberty, the decline will be fueled by "higher prices in international markets (ex-China) and maturing smartphone penetration in developed markets weighs on upgrades and new user growth."

Despite the fall in iPhone sales, Huberty expects Apple revenues to grow by around 2 percent, with the Apple Watch and Apple TV helping to keep the cash flowing in. Apple is heavily reliant on the iPhone, with some two-thirds of its profits being generated by this one product.

Well, mark this in your calendars for next year folks. It's a pretty big prediction, and if it turns out to be accurate, it's going to have quite an impact on Apple. Could we see Apple try out some new sales strategies in an attempt to avoid this? Has Apple already begun to do just that?

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