Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus is displayed at the Apple Store at Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district, Japan, September 16, 2016.    REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus is displayed at the Apple Store at Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district, Japan, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Apple iPhone sales beat estimates

Markets Reuters

Apple Inc sold more iPhones than Wall Street had expected in the latest quarter, and the company forecast higher-than-expected revenue for the critical holiday-shopping season.

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The world's most valuable publicly traded company said on Tuesday it sold 45.51 million iPhones in the three months ended Sept. 24, beating the average analysts' estimate of 44.8 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

However, it was the third quarter in a row of falling iPhone sales. Apple sold 48.05 million smartphones in the year-earlier period.

Apple forecast revenue of between $76 billion and $78 billion for the current quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected $75.08 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in the latest quarter fell 9 percent to $46.85 billion, the third straight decline.

That meant annual revenue fell for the first time since 2001, highlighting the slowdown in the smartphone market as well as intensifying competition, particularly from Chinese rivals.

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Analysts had expected revenue of $46.94 billion in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)