It might have originally appeared as a short piece on The Wall Street Journal, but news from ‘people familiar with matters’ that Apple has slashed orders for iPhone 5 components for the first quarter of 2013 is a big deal.
Chatter that the iGiant has told suppliers at the end of 2012 that it only needs half the number of screens it had initially thought necessary for the first quarter, is clearly a sign that the iPhone 5 is struggling to keep pace with its Android rivals.
What’s most telling though is that these insiders reckon this is simply down to a lack of demand, rather than Apple’s usual tactic of winding down orders ahead of a new release. That always happens as orders understandably tail off when the hype machine whirrs into overdrive prior to a new iPhone being launched.
But this move comes only four months after the iPhone 5 was released. An update is expected in the summer, rather than the autumn slot, which Apple has traditionally preferred, but this would be far too soon for Apple to slow things down for a June release of the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
Some Apple fanatics will claim Tim Cook and co are doing this to try and create buzz, perhaps priming a device for release in weeks not months. But ultimately, Cupertino is about making money. Lots of money. And this move doesn’t encourage that in any way, shape or form. Expect the stock price to slip when trading opens in New York and rivals to jump on this as a sign that all is not well at Infinite Loop.
Apple cannot and will not be flavour of the month forever. The iPhone 5 is unquestionably beautiful and definitely a great smartphone. But it’s hardly a huge leap from the previous models and doesn’t really excite the public in the same way older designs used to. There are phones that are just as good in the wider public’s eyes. The Galaxy S3 is just one of those and you can be sure as anything that the Galaxy S4 will be in high demand once it lands in the next couple of months.
Samsung has done a great job taking the fight to Apple, as has Google in a wider sense by pushing its Android OS onto as many devices as possible. It may not be as stable as iOS, but it’s certainly more popular.
2012 saw Apple getting a proper fight for smartphone supremacy. But with this news and some seriously stiff competition due, 2013 has every chance of being the year that Apple is finally looked on by the tech buying public as second best. A total overhaul of iOS and an iPhone that can truly cause a stir may help, but the days of the iPhone having a stranglehold on the market are over.