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Apple’s aging clout

Apple’s quarterly results, released on Thursday, were mainly about flexing some aging clout. Revenue grew 2% compared to the same quarter last year as the $2.5 trillion company eked out slightly higher iPhone sales and faster expansion in services outweighed sales shrinkage in Macs, iPads and accessories. Investors seemed happy enough though, sending the stock up 3% after hours, as the company’ churned out cash flow from operations and returned over $28 billion to shareholders in the quarter.

Consumers are pulling back, but for Apple’s users, there’s no replacement for their iPhones, except for another one. Last quarter, the company had over half of the American smartphone market by shipments, said Canalys. More importantly, the firm continues to squeeze more out of them by selling financial services, apps and especially ads recently.

While 2% growth isn’t great for Apple historically, there’s nothing within the next several quarters that will obviously displace the iPhone or its ability to sell more services to users, short of government action. With Apple keeping a careful eye on its bottom line, that means a lot more cash for shareholders, even if growth lacks newness. Reuters

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