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THE SILVER LINING IN APPLE'S CLOUDY DAY

Apple Music subscribers are up to 13 million (up from 11m in February), and revenues for Apple's services business ticked up 20% in the company's latest report. Call it the silver lining.

Things were noticeably less rosy elsewhere, as the Cupertino-based company saw its historic 13-year run of continuously profitable quarters end in Q2 of 2016.  Net income dipped 22% to $10.5 billion. China led the decline in sales, reflecting its overall slowing growth. As a result, the stock declined 8%.

Apple fell short of analysts' expectations for revenue of $52 billion—Q2 yielded a paltry $50.6 billion instead. Hang down your head, Tim Cook.

True, most of the company's biggest revenue drivers are dropping. Much talk has surrounded the lack of differentiation in the latest iPhone, and the underwhelming plan for a smaller phone, etc. But can we just say something here? You try having 13 years of continuously profitable quarters, transforming the culture with your technology and becoming the world's most recognized brand. Not so easy, is it?

But the expansion and increased profits for the streaming service will naturally be greeted cheerfully in the music world. Will Apple TV and the Apple Watch achieve mass adoption in the next few years? Could these fuel big growth in the music service as the phone, car, living room and workout join up in Cupertino's projected ecosystem? Will we live in underwater cities powered by whale farts? We shall see.

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