Earlier this week, two reports indicated that Apple was massively cutting parts orders for the iPhone 5 — which lead to both some dissent about the analysis, but also a quick drop in Apple stocks. Today, AAPL opened below $500, even as tech commenters and analysts blast the original report as flawed.
Other analysts have done their own supplier checks, and aren’t seeing the same drops as the original WSJ and Nikkei reports. One analyst called demand “robust”, another said the rumors were “noise”. Perhaps the most interesting read is over at the NYT, where they’re actually willing to say who is crunching their numbers, and give specifics:
Paul Semenza, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, a research firm that follows the display market, said that for January, Apple had expected to order 19 million displays for the iPhone 5 but cut the order to 11 million to 14 million. Mr. Semenza said these numbers came from sources in the supply chain, the companies that make components for Apple products.
The reduction in orders for screens could be related to excess inventory, or because consumer demand for the iPhone 5 just was not as strong as Apple had predicted, Mr. Semenza said. “Certainly, demand from Apple to the display makers seems to have been corrected pretty significantly,” he said.
So, the 65 million orders quote seems to have come out of nowhere, and other analysts think it’s bunk. Yet the rumor has sent Apple stocks into a tailspin. This has caused a number of writers to raise the specter of stock manipulation.
The fact that this whole thing stemmed from a rumor that came from an industry analyst without evidence really does underscore the bizarreness of how the Apple rumor mill works.