According to reports by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Apple is cutting orders for the iPhone 5C from two of its suppliers in China. According to the reports, the company is requesting 30 percent fewer phones from one supplier, and 20 percent fewer phones from another.
An earlier report pegged the company’s initial request from its Chinese suppliers at 300,000 units per week, with the new, reduced production levels coming out to roughly 150,000 phones per week.
Given that demand for the 5S vastly outpaced demand for the 5C in September, it’s not surprising that Apple has slowed down production, Especially since the company is usually very conscious of how it manages its inventory. Because the iPhone 5C isn’t Apple’s flagship phone, I’m not surprised that Apple is seeing lower demand for its lower-cost offering.
From what I’ve seen, nobody currently has the means to make an apples-to-apples comparison between production levels. The 5C is taking the place that the iPhone 4S occupied this time last year, and we don’t have numbers for how many units of the 4S Apple was requesting from suppliers.
As analyst Benedict Evans pointed out to Reuters, drawing any conclusions from supplier production levels can be a fool’s errand.
“We’ve seen this several times. There are too many moving parts in the supply chain to draw any conclusions,” he said. “We don’t know what other suppliers they use or what inventory they already have.”
Previously on GeekWire: Report: Apple’s iPhone 5S outselling 5C by 2-to-1 margin