Apple Inc. has reported a decline in sales across almost all markets worldwide, as per the latest figures released by the technology giant.

The company noted a drop of over 10% in demand for its smartphones during the first quarter of this year, with sales decreasing in every geographical region except Europe.

Apple disclosed that overall revenues fell by 4% to $90.8 billion (£72.5 billion), marking the largest decrease in over a year. Despite this, the results surpassed expectations, leading to a rise in Apple's share price during after-hours trading in New York.

Attributing the decline in sales partly to Covid-related supply disruptions, Apple pointed out that the unusually robust sales experienced during the same period last year skewed the figures.

Anticipating a return to growth in the coming months, Apple cited upcoming product launches and investments in artificial intelligence (AI) as factors driving this expected rebound.

Sales in the critical greater China market witnessed an 8% decline overall, although Apple CEO Tim Cook reassured investors about the company's prospects in mainland China, where iPhone sales actually increased.

Amid intensifying competition from local rivals like Huawei in the Chinese market, analysts highlighted iPhone's enduring advantage in terms of features, functionality, and prestige.

Apple's recent sales struggles contrast with the broader market trend, as global smartphone shipments rose by 10% in the first quarter of the year, according to research firm Canalys.

Analysts noted that Apple's lack of significant handset improvements since the launch of the iPhone 12 nearly four years ago has contributed to the prolonged sales decline, with hopes pinned on potential new AI features in the upcoming iPhone 16 to drive a significant upgrade cycle.

In addition to sales challenges, Apple faces legal battles with regulators in the US and Europe over its app store fees, while a separate anti-monopoly lawsuit in the US against Google threatens Apple's lucrative payments received from the search giant for being the default search engine on Safari.

Despite these challenges, Apple announced pre-tax profit of $28 billion for the quarter and plans to allocate $110 billion for share buybacks.

Looking ahead, Apple anticipates low single-digit sales growth in the next three months, with double-digit growth expected in its services business, providing some optimism for investors amidst ongoing challenges. Photo by Flickr user Butz.2013, Wikimedia commons.