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This may be a sign of how iPhone demand is faring amongst the competition

The latest iPhone may not be the rockstar Apple thought it would be. The Cupertino, California-based company slashed its orders for iPhone 5 screens by about 50 percent for the first quarter of 2013, and cut orders for other iPhone components as well.

This may be a sign of how iPhone demand is faring amongst the competition. Rival hardware makers like Samsung, whose devices are coupled with Google's Android operating system, have stolen much of the smartphone market share in the U.S.

For Q3 2012, Android was the No. 1 mobile operating system with a market share of 72.4 percent (compared to 52.5 percent in Q3 2011). Apple's iOS followed far behind at 13.9 percent (compared to 15 percent in Q3 2011).

As far as hardware goes, Samsung led the Q3 2012 market share at 22.9 percent (compared to 18.7 percent in Q3 2011) and Apple sat in third place at 5.5 percent (compared to 3.9 percent in Q3 2011).

Apple recently slipped behind in China's smartphone market as well. Apple, which previously held the No. 4 spot in the Chinese mobile phone market, slipped to No. 6 in Q3 2012 due to its low number of shipments, according to research firm IDC. Out of China's 60 million mobile phone shipments in Q3, Apple's iPhone accounted for less than 10 percent.

Apple's iPhone 5 was released in September 2012 with new features like a 4-inch screen and 4G LTE connectivity. It's available in either black or white, and is priced at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model, and $399 for the 64GB model with two-year contracts.

Sources: CNET, The Wall Street Journal

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Detailed analysis
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 2:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
Rather than theory-crafting about how limited factors could be affecting sales, Horace Deidu (who makes most analysts look like the clowns they are) laid out some great evidence on why the financial data coming from Apple has been deeply weird lately, breaking some of the earlier correlations and reflecting either a confluence of short-term effects or some deeper structural shifts.

Either way, AAPL is insanely undervalued with an 11 price multiple. This is compared to against almost 15 for MSFT and IBM and 22 for GOOG, all of those companies with lower revenue and growth. Technical oscillators are all bottomed out and AAPL is well below its moving averages.

I know people don't like to talk about market manipulation but this is the same WSJ that broke rumors about the iPhone not selling in China (it actually sold 4 million units opening weekend), and now it breaking rumors that can just as easily be tied to switching suppliers or over-ordering in the first place.

I took short positions against AAPL in July and August by selling call option spreads, booking 40% profit total between the two. Those did very well. I picked up shares for $500 at the open this morning. If earnings wasn't right around the corner I would be looking at selling put spreads as well. There are some that look like an easy 25% profit but I hate trading options around earnings.

I would not be short right now. The market shakeout for people that bought $600 and up has been in play for months, the time for short squeezing will be here soon.

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