Apple’s share prices have continued to slump, with stocks in the Cupertino based company dropping below $500 (£310) following reports it has reduced screen orders amid poor iPhone 5 sales.
Having peaked at a high of $702.10 (£436) apiece back in September, a figure which saw Apple become the most valuable company in history, shares in the iPad mini and iMac manufacturer have been on a steady decline for a number of weeks, with claims of lacklustre iPhone 5 sales further accelerating the slump.
Earlier this week, new reports cited “people familiar with the matter” in suggesting that Apple has halved orders of the 4-inch Retina displays found on the current iPhone 5, indicating that uptake of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus 4 rival has been lower than expected.
“The move indicates that sales of the new iPhone haven’t been as strong as previously anticipated and demand may be waning,” the reports stated, sparking a flurry of rumours around flailing sales of the iPhone 4S follow-on handset.
Coming at a time when Android handsets are on the rise, Apple’s claimed reduced component orders have suggested that the iPhone maker is struggling to compete with the onslaught of popular, high-end Android smartphones.
Seemingly compounding the belief that Android devices are eating into Apple’s market share, latest figures have revealed that Android brimmed handsets accounted for 75 per cent of all smartphone shipments during Q3 2012, up from just 58 per cent during the same time the year previous. Despite this dominant rise, Apple’s market share jumped from 14 per cent to 15 per cent during the same 12 month period.
Suggesting that investors have overreacted to recent stock claims, analyst Horace Dediu of Asumco consultancy has stated that “a simple explanation could be that yields from manufacture of the screens have gone up.” He added: “Usually they have to throw away about 90 per cent because they don’t meet standards. If it has improved, the amount you need to make goes down.”
Dediu’s doubts were backed up by fellow analyst Benedict Evans who, speaking on behalf of Enders Analysis, said: “We don’t know the whole picture.
“It’s not a press release from the company or the suppliers. We’re like the blind men trying to describe an elephant. Halving orders would imply some fundamental collapse in Apple’s operation, and there’s simply no sign of that.”
Far from the first time Apple sales have been called into question following component order cuts, similar reports followed reduced production of the iPhone 4S, a device which continued to dominate the smartphone scene long after launch.
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