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Apple reportedly cuts iPhone screen orders on weak demand

The Cupertino-based tech giant cut orders of the iPhone 5 screens by roughly 50 percent last month, a possible sign of sagging demand, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5.

Apple is reportedly dialing down its iPhone component orders, a possible sign that demand for the smartphone is not quite as strong as Apple expected.

The company cut its orders last month for iPhone 5 screens for the first quarter of the 2013 calendar year by roughly half its original target, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant also reportedly trimmed orders for other screen sizes as well.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The report appears to support the forecast of at least one analyst, who predicted last month that Apple would face challenges selling its iPhone and iPad. In December, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich slashed his iPhone sales estimates for the March, June, and September 2013 quarters by 5 million units each quarter, while sales estimates for the iPad were cut by 2 million per quarter.

Milunovich also trimmed his earnings estimates for Apple for fiscal 2013 and 2014 and lowered the stock's target price to $700 from $780. Apple is expected to announce its fiscal first-quarter financial results on January 23.

Once the dominant smartphone and tablet seller, Apple has faced challenges on both fronts. The iPad's market share has been sliced by lower-priced Android tablets, while the Galaxy S lineup of smartphones recently edge out the iPhone for the smartphone market crown.