Apple has reportedly canceled hardware orders, fuelling speculation that sales of the company's iPhone 5 handset are falling short of expectations.
The Wall Street Journal cited industry sources in reporting that suppliers have had orders from Apple for display hardware on its flagship smartphone. According to the report, the company has cut half of its stock for the upcoming financial quarter.
Apple stock took a hit following publication of the report, dropping 3.57 percent in trading and closing at $501.75 per share.
The news stoked fears that Apple's latest iPhone was failing to live up to the company's sales expectations. Apple's last quarterly report pegged iPhone 5 sales at 26.9 million units sold. More recently, the iPhone 5 debuted in China with more than two million units sold.
Apple has recently seen its dominant position in the smartphone space erode at the hands of Android device vendors. Samsung in particular has surged in recent months, claiming the lion's share of a blossoming market for connected devices.
Earlier this week, Samsung claimed another milestone when it revealed that the Galaxy S3 topped 40 million units sold.
According to Gartner analyst Carolina Milanessi, it could be Apple's own devices impacting iPhone 5 sales. Milanessi told V3 that the iPad Mini might be the culprit.
"This would affect more new users who would see the iPad Mini as a more economical way to get into the Apple ecosystem or alternatively previous generations iPhone owners that get an iPad Mini instead of upgrading," Milanessi suggested.
"We heard from Apple about the impact of the Mini on the iPad but nothing yet on iPhone."
Apple, meanwhile, continues to work on the next version of the iPhone. Early reports suggest that the company is currently testing a new handset lineup which will offer multiple form factors and colours.
If remarks from Apple executives are to be believed, however, the new iPhone lineup will not include budget-priced models. Executive Phil Schiller recently told press that the company does not wish to develop a "cheap" iPhone.
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