Apple's magical iPhone factories to churn out fewer beautifuly shiny gadgets

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Say, remember how Apple's iPhone was going to appeal to the not-so-rich and take over the entire handset market and soon every man, woman, and child on the planet would have one? Well, it turns out, not so much, maybe. Apparently analyst types nosing around the iPhone supply chains have found that "iPhone production and the associated supply chain may be experiencing some incremental weakness due to concerns about end demand." In other words, fewer iPhone-related parts are being ordered, because fewer iPhones are going to get made, because fewer people are going to buy them. Like, maybe 40 percent fewer. Oops! It is, I suppose, always difficult to gauge the ongoing demand of a pricey but very innovative product -- sure, a lot of people want one, all at once, but then it gets to the point where they all have one, and they're all pretty much brand new, so what next?

If iPhone sales are going to plunge, though, Apple may have some trouble meeting payroll. That's because the number of Apple employees increased a fairly stunning 50 percent in the past year. 50 percent! Hopefully all those folks are working steadily on ways to keep their jobs.

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