Demand for iPhones is plummeting, according to two supply-chain sources. The suggestion of weak sales knocked about three per cent off Apple's pre-trading stock to just above $500 a share.
Orders for iPhone 5 touchscreens for January to March 2013 have been cut in half by Cupertino bosses, reports Japanese news service Nikkei. Other sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal echoed that, and said it's because demand for the iPhone 5 from fans is weaker than expected.
Apple's initial order of 65 million iPhone 5 screens for the first quarter of 2013 has been halved to what we assume must be about 32.5 million, reports the Nikkei. The order for the displays is split between three manufacturers: Sharp, LG Display and Japan Display. Orders for other components have been cut too.
The reduction from buying 21.5 million screens a month to 10.8 million is a big one, and suggests not only a big fall in expectations but a slight fall in iPhone sales from last year. This isn't something Apple wants to see when competition in the smartphone market is so fierce.
According to Apple's filings from 2012, 35 million iPhone units were sold in the first three months of 2012, a rate of roughly 11.7 million units a month. That figure comprises all iPhones including sales of older models, however. Overall, iOS-powered phones led in the US in terms of market share but were behind Android mobes in the UK and elsewhere in 2012.
But sales of the iPhone 5 reached 5 million in the first weekend when it first hit the shelves in nine countries. As of the end of last year, it is now on sale in more than a hundred countries - more than any previous iPhone.
Requests to Apple, Japan Display, LG Display and Sharp for confirmation or comment on these figures have gone unanswered. ®