Apple is expected to report the iPhone's first annual decline in sales volumes this week, but in turn fueling Wall Street's hopes of a rebound in the run-up to Christmas.
Apple is forecast to report iPhone sales of about 45 million units on Tuesday when it releases earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, according to analysts, marking the third successive quarter of decline for its flagship product. That would take total iPhone sales to 211 million for Apple's 2016 financial year, which is about 9 per cent lower than the previous year.
Though the drop has long been anticipated by investors based on Apple's guidance, the result is a stark turnaround after Apple's blockbuster 2015, which saw iPhone sales surge by 37 per cent to 231 million, thanks to huge demand for the iPhone 6.
While the iPhone 6S was unable to sustain that level of growth, many on Wall Street have become more optimistic about the prospects for its latest version after Apple executives said last quarter that sales had passed the "low point".
Mobile operators in the U.S. and Europe, as well as some component suppliers, have voiced their confidence in early sales of the iPhone 7, which some analysts say may also see an added boost from Samsung's withdrawal of its Note 7 smartphone following a spate of battery fires.
In the U.S., T-Mobile said that pre-orders for Apple's latest smartphone were the largest it had ever seen, with initial demand as much as four times higher than the iPhone 6.