Cupertino (AP) - Apple is optimistic about the upcoming Christmas business - by far the most important time for the iPhone group. In the process, devices such as the Apple Watch computer clock and the AirPods earphones as well as revenue from subscription services are becoming increasingly important.

In the US, more installment purchases should boost the iPhone business: Users of the in-house credit card Apple Card should soon be able to extend the purchase of the smartphone without interest over 24 months.

For the current quarter, Apple predicted Wednesday on sales growth to 85.5 to 89.5 billion dollars (77 to 80.6 billion euros). In the same quarter of the previous year, a collapse in the Chinese business had caused a decline to $ 84.3 billion.

The iPhone business also shrank in the past quarter - by a good nine percent to $ 33.4 billion. However, growth in portable devices such as Apple Watch and AirPods as well as revenues from online services more than offset the decline.

Three-quarters of watch buyers in the past quarter bought their first Apple Watch, CEO Tim Cook said. Apple had recently lowered the price of the cheapest model to $ 199, putting even more pressure on the already sluggish competitors in the business.

In the Christmas business, Apple is now including new iPhone models with significantly improved camera, as well as a refreshed clock and improved AirPods. For the analyst Tony Sacconaghi of the financial firm Bernstein, the sales forecast for the Christmas quarter therefore did not go far enough. Among other things, Apple pointed to headwinds due to unfavorable exchange rates and the positive effect of the previous year due to the launch of a new model of the laptop computer Macbook Air.

Consolidated revenue increased 2 percent year-on-year to $ 64 billion last quarter. In profit, there was a decline from 14.1 to 13.7 billion dollars.

Revenues for the Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePods and other accessories business increased 54 percent to $ 6.5 billion. Services revenue was up 18 percent to $ 12.5 billion. Apple launches its video streaming service Apple TV + on Friday and recently also brought the games subscription Arcade online.

The iPhone last accounted for 52 percent of the entire Apple business. In the quarter of this it had been a little less - in the past, the smartphone often earned around two-thirds of its revenues. For some time now, Apple has stopped providing information on the number of iPhones sold.

In China, Apple has now been able to stabilize the business again - the revenue was last only by a good two percent back to $ 11.1 billion.

The Apple share increased after the quarterly report in after hours trading by almost two percent.