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Apple seen shrinking for first time since 2003

For the first time since the pre-iPhone era, Apple may be shrinking.

Not since 2003, the year the third generation of the iPod was released along with the iTunes music store, has Apple reported a year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue. That's 51 consecutive quarters of growth.

Yet a sudden slump in iPhone sales, which account for about two-thirds of the business, is expected to push fiscal second-quarter revenue down a whopping 10 percent when the Cupertino, California-based company reports results on Tuesday.

Analysts on average expect a decline in revenue to $52 billion from $58 billion a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share likely slumped to $1.99 from $2.33.

For the most part, this is Apple playing victim to its own success. The iPhone 6 and the bigger 6 Plus released in September 2014 make up Apple's best-selling smartphone line of all time, and 2015 was the strongest year for the devices. In the second quarter, Apple sold over 61 million iPhones, and revenue in the unit jumped 54 percent from the prior year.

That makes 2016 a relatively slow upgrade year and presents particularly challenging numbers to beat. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said the iPhone 6 was expected to produce a 15 percent sales bump over the iPhone 5 line, but it ended up being a 30 percent increase.

"The 6 really...