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Apple Reportedly Prepares Suppliers for 20% Drop in iPhone Orders

Apple has warned its supply partners that its iPhone parts orders might be lower this year than last, according to a new report.

The tech giant is planning to release three new iPhone models this year, but will place up to 20% fewer parts orders in 2018 than it did in 2017, Nikkei is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. Apple last year told suppliers to be prepared to produce 100 million new iPhones in the latter part of 2017. This year, it’s now telling them to ready 80 million units, according to the report.

The news comes as Apple has had to fend off reports that iPhone demand has been sluggish and customers are not as enthralled with the company’s iPhone X as Apple had anticipated. For its part, Apple has said that demand is strong, but tepid growth in the iPhone division has given some industry analysts and shareholders cause for concern.

Reports have been swirling that Apple is planning three new iPhone models this year, including a larger version of its iPhone X that could feature a 6.5-inch screen. Apple is also reportedly planning a follow-up to last year’s iPhone X, as well as a budget model that would come with a similar design to the iPhone X, but use LCD screen technology to keep its price down.

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When Apple unveiled its iPhones last year, the company released its iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus a little more than a week after their unveiling. The iPhone X, however, wasn’t released until November. To avoid that problem this year, the Nikkei’s sources are reporting, Apple is asking its suppliers to begin work on its new handsets sooner. The move should allow Apple to release all three new models in September, according to the report.

Still, there’s significant work to be done to ramp up production. Whether that could affect Apple’s release date plans is unknown.