Reuters: Asian Suppliers Said to Reduce Reliance on ‘Poison Apple’

With looming speculation growth at Apple is stalling (their stock price closed below $400/share for the first time since winter of 2011), Reuters reports the company’s Asian suppliers say they are looking to reduce their reliance on Apple:

Sources at several Asian suppliers, which for years basked in the glow of Apple’s success and enjoyed stock gains even on rumors they might be among the select group of companies to sell components to Apple, told Reuters this week about ever-moving deadlines and said they were trying to reduce their reliance on the company.

One supply chain source in Japan said because of the Cupertino company’s extremely high standards and demand for low prices, the industry jokingly calls them “Poison Apple.” It’s a double-edged sword for suppliers as when Apple profits, they do as well. But when growth is reportedly said to slow down, it also affects the outlook on suppliers too.

Fingerprint Sensor Search Causing ‘Delay’?

The reports says supplier sources in Japan and Taiwan expected mass production of the next iPhone to start in June, but now that date has started to slip beyond that month. One source in Taiwan said the delay might be caused by Apple’s search to find a coating to work with its reported fingerprint sensor, a feature said to debut with the iPhone 5S. Earlier this week, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Taiwan’s TSMC will be the makers of the rumoured fingerprint sensor.

Supply chain sources also say Apple is developing a lower-cost version of the iPhone, which possibly will appeal to growing markets in China and India (we’ve heard this before). One Japanese supply source said small-scale production of screens will start in May, then ramping up in June. Both the iPhone 5S and lower-cost iPhone will use the same 4-inch display, but the latter will omit the fingerprint sensor and be built with a cheaper plastic chassis. These whispers appear in line with previous reports on iPhone model speculation.

Apple will be reporting its Q2 2013 quarterly earnings this Tuesday. Its stock price closed at $390.53 on Friday.