Apple has slashed orders for the screens used on its iPhone5 because of weak sales while arch-rival Samsung has sold its 100 millionth Galaxy S device, in a sign of changing fortunes in the mobile market.
The iPhone maker has almost halved its order of liquid-crystal display panels from key suppliers, according to the Japanese newspaper the Nikkei.
Apple has told three suppliers, Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display, that it requires fewer screens, after previously requesting as many as 65 million units for the January to March quarter. Japan Display’s plant in Nomi, a key iPhone supplier, is expected to reduce output temporarily by between 70% and 80%, compared with the October to December period.
The iPhone5 is longer and lighter than previous models, but consumers have been underwhelmed and there have been glitches, notably the flawed maps function.
Apple has dominated the smartphone market with iPhone since its launch in 2007, but Samsung has caught up in recent years, following the launch of the Galaxy S series in May 2010. Last year, the latest model, the Galaxy S III, helped the South Korean firm to leapfrog its US rival to become the world’s top-selling smartphone manufacturer.
Sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S series have reached 100 million in under three years — faster than Apple’s iPhone, which took nearly four years.
Apple’s share price has tumbled by a quarter since September when iPhone5 debuted. In contrast, Samsung’s shares powered to a new record last week.
Both companies are benefiting from the mobile boom as consumers prefer smartphones and tablets to the traditional desktop or personal computer. Research firm Gartner reported today that global sales of PCs slumped 5% in the last three months, to 90.3 million. Gartner said the launch of “compelling low-cost tablets” — such as the Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle Fire — was helping to drive the shift from PC to tablet.