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Apple is set to report a major drop in iPhone sales for the third successive quarter to about 45 million units when it releases earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter.

That would take total iPhone sales to 211 million for Apple’s 2016 financial year, or about nine percent lower than the previous year.

Though investors have long been expecting the drop, the result is a stark turnaround after Apple’s blockbuster 2015 sales year, which saw iPhone sales surge by 37 percent to 231 million, thanks to huge demand for the iPhone 6.

However, Wall Street has become more optimistic about the prospects for Apple’s latest version. Mobile operators in the US and Europe, as well as some component suppliers, have voiced their confidence in early sales of the iPhone 7, which should get an added boost from Samsung’s withdrawal of its Note 7 smartphone and the customary lift in Christmas shopping.

In the US, carrier 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.

In Europe, Deutsche Bank echoed the sentiment and raised its iPhone estimates to 46 million units in the fourth quarter and 75 million for the three months ending in December.
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