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Apple's innovation crown under threat as profits slide

Apple is coming under increasing pressure to retain its reputation as one of the world's leading innovators after reporting its first fall in profits in a decade.

The Apple iPad Credit: Press Association

Second quarter profits for the technology company were down £1.38 billion from the same time last year. Analysts say the announcement of £6.27 billion profit could have been worse, but the next 12 months will prove crucial.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive officer, remained defiant, saying:

We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad.

Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.

Apple's iPod Credit: Press Association

I think the numbers show that Apple is able to hold sales regardless of whether they have a major launch in the quarter. What's interesting is that iPad continues to sell while more and more people turn away from Apple's MacBooks.

It doesn't seem to have been the bloodbath the street was rumouring. I think a lot of companies would like to have Apple's 9.5 billion dollar profit issues. All of their competitors are getting more and more aggressive.

Apple needs to make sure its next product continues the momentum of constantly moving forward - whether that's a watch, a television, a new iPad or iPhone.

– Stuart Miles, founder of technology and gadget website Pocket-lint

Apple is however finally opening the doors to its bank vault, saying it will distribute £65 billion in cash to its shareholders over two years.

Investors have been clamouring for Apple to give them access to its cash hoard, which ended March at an unprecedented £95 billion. Apple's tight grip on its cash has been blamed for the steep decline in its stock price over the winter.

Crowds in Munich, Germany waiting to buy the iPhone5 Credit: Press Association

The company has faced continued pressure from Wall Street over the use of its cash, which earns less than 1% in interest. Investors reason that if the company has no good use for the money, it should be handed over to shareholders.

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