Apple Sells Billionth iPhone Amidst Sluggish Overall Sales

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Almost nine years to the day after the first iPhone was released, Apple on Wednesday announced that it recently sold its billionth smartphone.

"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing, and successful products in history," CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day.

Strategy Analytics global smartphone market 2016"Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone," he continued. "We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products that make a difference."

The milestone, however, comes as iPhone sales have slowed. According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, worldwide shipments grew only 1 percent annually. Shipments fell 15 percent during the second quarter to a "disappointing" 40.4 million.

No. 1 seller Samsung, comparatively, shipping 77.6 million, growing 8 percent annually from 2015. It maintained first position with 23 percent share for the quarter.

"With a new Galaxy Note 7 flagship model rumored to be on the way, Samsung will be able to strengthen its smartphone leadership in the second half of the year," Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement. Apple is also likely to introduce a new iPhone lineup in the fall, though.

Huawei, meanwhile, maintained third position with 9 percent market share and 32 million shipments; Oppo and Xiaomi, however, are not far behind, selling 18 million and 14.7 million, respectively, during the quarter.

According to Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, smartphone growth has slowed due to "increasing penetration maturity in major markets like China and uncertainty surrounding major political events such as the Brexit EU referendum result."

There are signs, she said, that the second half of the year—chock full of expected product launches—will see improvement.

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