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Analysts from Citi are suggesting that demand for Apple's iPad and iPhone appear to be softening. But other reports indicate that the firm is gearing up to release a new round of mobile devices.
CNET's Lance Whitney reported, "Citi analyst Glen Yeung believes that end-user demand for the iPhone 5 and the iPad are declining. In an investors note out today, the analyst pointed to a reduction in component orders from Apple suppliers as the cause for his bearish assessment. 'In conducting our regular field work with the hardware supply chain, we again find evidence of reduced demand to Apple's suppliers for iPhone 5 related components,' Yeung said in his note. 'While production does not directly translate to sales (for example, we estimate Apple finished 1Q13 (Dec) with [around] 10M iPhone units in inventory), we suspect this is an indication of softer demand for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.'"
Business Insider's Jay Yarow added, "[Citi] cut their estimates for iPhone unit sales this quarter. For the current March quarter, they are estimating 34 million units sold, down from the previous estimate of 35 million units. For the June quarter they are calling for 25 million units sold, which is well below the consensus of 32 million units. For the next two quarters Citi is at 59 million units versus 69 million for the Street. As for the iPad, they say, '10” tablet sales are in decline in mature markets (sales of 10” iPad in US & Japan declined 10.2% y/y in 4Q12), indicative of product maturation.'"
Meanwhile, according to Apple Insider's Mikey Campbell, "Fresh rumors out of the Far East say that Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has already started production of the so-called iPhone 5S, with the next-generation handset reportedly being built on the same lines as the current iPhone 5. Citing a source familiar with the matter, Japanese Apple blog MacOtakara reported that Foxconn is starting to ramp up production of Apple's iPhone 5 successor. The site noted that because the design of the 'iPhone 5S' is substantially the same to the company's existing handset, little to no tooling is needed to manufacture the two models on the same production lines."
Earlier this week, iMore's Rene Ritchie wrote, "iMore has learned that Apple is planning the release of the iPhone 5S for this summer, currently for August. Next generation iPads, presumably the iPad 5 and potentially the iPad mini 2, may also debut as soon as this April. Sources familiar with the plans have told iMore that the iPhone 5S does indeed have the same basic design as the iPhone 5, with a more advanced processor and an improved camera."