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Verizon Seeing Slow Phone Upgrades As Customers Await Next iPhone

Inside An Apple Inc. Store As The New iPhones Are ReleasedInside An Apple Inc. Store As The New iPhones Are Released

Pressure may be mounting on Apple to save the year for the entire smartphone industry. Verizon Communications, one of the largest U.S. carriers, said on Thursday that it is seeing a surprisingly low number of customers upgrading smartphones during in the second quarter—a delay that CFO Fran Shammo blamed partly on iPhone anticipation.

“Upgrades are very slow right now,” Shammo said speaking at the MoffettNathanson investor conference in New York. Given Apple’s usual cycle of releasing a new iPhone in the fall, “customers are waiting to see what’s potentially coming in the fourth quarter,” he explained.

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But when asked point blank if the arrival of the next iPhone, which some have dubbed the iPhone 7, will prompt all the delayers at Verizon (VZ) to upgrade en masse, Shammo was non-committal.

“I’m not sure yet,” Shammo replied, adding it would depend on whether the new iPhone represented a “dynamic change.”

Apple (AAPL) saw iPhone sales slip on a year-over-year basis for the first time ever at the beginning of 2016, and the tech giant’s financial guidance implied another dip is likely in the current quarter.

Meanwhile, analysts are debating if the decline represents the end of growth for Apple’s top product or merely a delay until a more appealing upgrade hits the market.