Yesterday Apple's stock price took a nose dive on the news that consumers were likely holding back on iPad mini purchases in the hope of gaining a better deal with Apple's next generation product. Apple's upstream supply chain sources pointed to a 20-30% decline in shipments. What we didn't notice yesterday was that a second report published later in the day pointed to a nasty hiccup in Apple's Mac hardware inventory too.
The second report posted by DigiTimes stated that Apple had reportedly stopped placing component orders for its Mac series of products recently and related upstream suppliers so far have not yet received any word about when Apple will resume its orders.
The suppliers originally expected to finish digesting their Mac inventories in April, but are now stranded waiting for further instructions from Apple. The sources revealed that Apple's Mac orders to the supply chain dropped to almost nothing after the Lunar New Year holidays. Apple had high hopes for its Mac product lines and placed aggressive orders at the end of 2012; however, the company is now badly affected by the decision.
Being that Apple hardly misestimates its shipment forecasts, the sharp order drop may imply that Apple has underestimated the PC industry's weak status and its iPad products are affecting the PC industry more seriously than it expected. We reported on April eleventh that the PC sector had tanked to a 20 year low due to Microsoft's Windows 8 being a failure.
In the past, Apple usually gave its suppliers its shipment forecast for the upcoming quarter (12 weeks), but the company did not provide a shipment forecast for the second quarter and some suppliers are concerned that shipments may not resume until late May.
At the moment there are more questions than answers. Last June Tim Cook emailed a customer stating that "Although we didn't have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today's event, don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year."
So – can Apple's current drop in Mac components relate to an all-new Mac Pro on the way earlier than expected? Can the high demand for iPads really be cannibalizing the Mac faster than expected or is the PC sector just really in a crater? Yes, there are more questions than answers.
While on the surface it may look like more bad news for Apple, I think it's a little too early to jump to conclusions as to why this is happening at this point in time until we're further into the quarter. I say that in-part because I'm starting to question whether these awfully noisy "upstream suppliers" have an agenda. Think about it: What are the chances of Apple having iPad mini and Mac problem leaks in the same day from "upstream supply sources"? It makes me wonder if a certain dirty trickster isn't taking their propaganda campaign to yet another level.
Yet at the end of the day, no matter how you slice it, Apple's shareholders are taking it on the nose and Apple's traditional silence on rumors is just fueling the fire.
What are your thoughts on this?
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