iPhone 5 Cutbacks Simply Due to Initial Shipment Rate Being Too Large to Maintain?

iphone 5 black whiteWhile questions remain about claims from earlier this week that Apple has slashed iPhone 5 component orders, CNET is now reporting on market research firm DisplaySearch senior vice president Paul Semenza's comments on how the iPhone 5's initial shipment ramp was simply too large to maintain.

"It was a very quick ramp up. The Q4 [estimate] was about 61 million [for the iPhone 5]...that may be dialed back a bit, but anything near that number is still huge," he said, referring to an estimate of display shipments for the iPhone 5.

"That would support the theory that the ramp was too much to sustain."

CNET mentions that the first quarter of sales for the iPhone 4S registered far below that for the iPhone 5, providing little reason for such a strong decline in iPhone 5 interest. Yesterday, Semenza told The New York Times that Apple had cut its display order from 19 million to 11-to-14 million for January, noting that demand from Apple had been "corrected significantly." But he also mentioned to CNET that he'd heard of changes to orders before the new year.

Theories abound as to the just how much Apple has cut component orders and the reasons for those cuts, but many believe that improving yields and aggressive ramping during the holiday quarter may simply have left Apple with an oversupply of parts heading into the new year. Combining that excess inventory with a natural slowdown following the strong launch quarter for the device could lead to substantial reductions in part production. Still, it seems unlikely that Apple would have miscalculated component demand for the current quarter by the nearly 50% number originally cited by Nikkei and The Wall Street Journal.

Recently, it's been reported that Apple is prepping iPhone 5S production for March ahead of a release in June or July, a rapid update cycle that could also be forcing adjustments in Apple's component orders.

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Top Rated Comments

Mr-Kerrse Avatar
150 months ago
I dont understand the constant moaning about the iphone 5, i like my iphone 5 & yes it is different to the 4s as it is much faster & i like the screen being longer not wider as i don't want a huge phone.

Stop worrying about the iphone keeping up with the competition & enjoy it for what it is, if you don't like Apple products then buy a different make !

:rolleyes:
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThatsMeRight Avatar
150 months ago
iPhone sales were, without doubt, still extremely high during the holiday season, but I actually hope that sales are lower than expected.

Why? It sends Apple a message that bigger upgrades are needed. A few years ago, I remember Apple as the company that had the best software combined with great hardware.

The iPhone 5 isn't a bad phone. In fact, it's a really good phone. When you asked me in 2010 which phone was the best smartphone? iPhone 4. It had hardware similar or better than that of top competitors and it had just received a huge software upgrade (iOS 4, which brought stuff like multitasking).

Last year, I'd probably still say the iPhone 4S. While Android (and Windows Phone) was gaining terrain, the iPhone 4S still had the best over-all package.

This year, I'd say you can't go wrong with any high-end smartphone: Nokia Lumia 920, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, iPhone 5. Why? Because of the software: Android has made huge jumps compared to iOS - and Microsoft has brought a refreshing mobile OS to the market.

And look what is coming this year!
Android is getting more refined and more refined, basically, by the day. iOS 7 needs to be big. It needs to change, even if it is only for change's sake. People like new, fresh, shiny things. Apple has been playing it safe with iOS 5 and iOS 6.

And look what is coming on the hardware side: quad-core Cortex A15 CPUs and even more powerful GPUs. Bigger batteries which will probably give us much better battery life. Drastically improved cameras (Nokia PureView, anyone?).

Again: Apple has been playing it safe. They change things, but not too much. iOS 6 is really, really similar to iOS 5. And iOS 5 is quite similar to iOS 4. And being careful with changing things is okay, but once in a while you need to take a risk: you need to throw things overboard and start with a fresh design. Start with drastically new features. You need to take a risk like Microsoft did with Windows 8.

Same on the hardware side: Apple is playing it safe. They gave the iPhone 5 a bigger display: big enough to attract users who want a bigger display, but small enough to make sure they won't lose any customers who preferred the 3.5" display.

Apple in 2008/2009/2010 would have taken more risks. More drastic changes to iOS. Back in 2010, they gave us multitasking while - as it is reported - they weren't willing to give it to us at first. It would make things too complicated. Looking back, giving us multitasking was a great idea because there are now so many great new apps which make great use of it (like Spotify).

Back in 2008, Apple gave us the App Store. According to the news articles I read, Apple - at the time - wasn't really willing to do this (they were 'all-in' on web apps) but if we look back this was a great choice. They took the risk and it paid off.

In 2010 they gave us a 960 x 640 3.5" display. 326 pixels per inch. Such a high pixel density: unheard of.

Apple needs to take risks. Give iOS a redesign so it looks drastically different, but - hopefully - still works quite the same. Add drasticly better internals: push camera technology. Push battery technology. Push CPU and GPU technology. And more importantly: try out new technologies (like Senseg's tactile feedback technology (http://senseg.com/technology/senseg-technology)).

Come on, Apple. Take some risks. Up the game.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gatearray Avatar
150 months ago
... you need to throw things overboard and start with a fresh design. Start with drastically new features. You need to take a risk like Microsoft did with Windows 8.

Ask MS how taking that "risk" is working out for them! Throwing things overboard and starting with a fresh design is what you do when you're desperate, sitting on a failing product line and/or strategy, and generally behind the eight ball, present-day RIM is another example.

Apple sees tremendous growth every quarter, with each new iPhone iteration has sold more units that the previous gens combined. I don't think they'll be adopting your proposed strategy anytime soon. :)

... they weren't willing to give it to us at first. It would make things too complicated. Looking back, giving us multitasking was a great idea because there are now so many great new apps which make great use of it (like Spotify).

Again, your specious reasoning is showing! :)

You say they weren't willing to "give it to us", and even suggest that it turned out to be a "good idea" in the end, as if those mean old jerks at Apple got it wrong.

I say that until iOS4 and the A4 chip, Apple couldn't achieve the desired level of user experience, and only added this functionality in iOS 4 when it was ready for Primetime, as they say.

Honestly, which explanation is more plausible?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arcite Avatar
150 months ago
The iphone 5 is still selling BIG by any metric, just not quite as big as a couple analysts predicted. Pile in on cheap apple stock I say!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
r2shyyou Avatar
150 months ago
Here's a good piece to consider:

Via Forbes: Why The WSJ Got The 'iPhone Demand Is Crashing' Story All Wrong (http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/01/15/did-the-wsj-get-punkd-on-apple-or-is-it-rotten-to-the-core/)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blackcrayon Avatar
150 months ago
Push CPU and GPU technology. And more importantly: try out new technologies (like Senseg's tactile feedback technology (http://senseg.com/technology/senseg-technology)).

Come on, Apple. Take some risks. Up the game.

Apple could hardly push CPU and GPU technology any harder, they bought their own chip design companies in house, made a hand laid out exceptional SoC in the A6, and they clearly haven't been messing around when it comes to the GPUs they've been using.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)