Apple iPhone sales fell for the first time in history, Gartner figures reveal

 
Lynsey Barber
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Zoinks! The iPhone sales decline hit in 2015 (Source: Getty)

Sales of Apple's iconic iPhones have fallen for the first time in history, analysts say.

Global sales of the device declined 4.4 per cent at the end of last year, with 71.5m handsets sold in the last quarter of 2015.

Apple sparked fears that the world has reached "peak Apple" in January when it revealed sales had fallen to their lowest ever rate and were likely to decline in the first quarter of 2016.

The new figures from Gartner indicate that slowdown has already hit.

The entire smartphone market experienced its lowest level of growth in eight years, rising 9.7 per cent while Samsung and Huawei were the only brands to experience growth in the fourth quarter.

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Apple could stand to make $5.5bn from a slated soon to launch smaller iPhone, with RBC Capital Markets' Amit Daryanani predicting 10m unit sales, though that would be a "modest positive impact" of just two per cent on this year's earnings.

The 5se model is expected to be an upgrade on the lower-end model 5c which has not been improved upon since launching in 2013 as Apple focused on its larger and premium iPhone 6 range.

Apple's market share fell from 20.4 per cent to 17.7 per cent at the end of last year, while overall for the year it inched up from 15.4 per cent to 15.9 per cent.

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