Apple has stopped placing orders for some components needed to make the company's 13-inch MacBook Pro, according to a report from Taiwan newspaper DigiTimes. The story was sourced from Apple's supply chain, which said that Apple had high inventory of the parts in question.
That suggests that demand for Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro has softened. The component makers said that Apple's orders for these parts were roughly 20 percent short of Apple's original estimates.
The question, of course, is why? Is Apple seeing a drop of demand for its portables, or has demand from the new 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display exceeded expectations and cannibalized share for its lower resolution sibling?
DigiTimes doesn't address these issues, and the short article focused strictly on the specific component makers and the orders that had been stopped. The article did add, however, that, "Since these suppliers are also supplying components for other MacBook Pro products, the order stoppage will only have a limited impact on the suppliers."
That line doesn't offer much clarity on whether Apple is making up the business with other models or is simply selling fewer portables.
The PC industry as a whole has seen declines over the last two years. Apple's introduction of the iPad has disrupted the PC industry and cannibalized sales of full blown computers, and the wait for (and seeming disappointment in) Windows 8 hasn't helped much. Apple's Mac sales outpace the PC industry, having done so for 26 straight quarters.
A 20 percent decline in sales of the 13-inch MacBook Pro would be felt, however, as the device has long been Apple's most popular portable Mac. The reality, though, is that Apple isn't talking.
We aren't likely to have much color on this topic until Apple reports December results in January or one of the Wall Street analysts who is plugged in to Apple's supply chain offers up their opinion on the issue.