Apple shares hit by iPhone 5 order fears

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Shares in technology giant Apple have fallen 3.5% after reports suggesting that orders for its iPhone 5 have been lower than expected.

Apple is reported to have halved its orders for the display panel featured on the phone for the January to March quarter, according to the Nikkei Japanese news service.

The reports have heightened fears that demand for Apple's iPhones has fallen in the wake of increased competition.

The iPhone 5 came out in September.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek trimmed his iPhone shipment estimates for the January to March quarter in December, saying that the technology company had started cutting orders to suppliers to balance excess supplies.

There are fears that Apple is struggling to compete with Asian rivals, including South Korean based firm Samsung Electronics.

Samsung has already overtaken Apple as the world's largest smartphone vendor by market share.

Earlier on Monday, Samsung said that global sales of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones had topped 100 million since the first model was launched in May 2010.

Analyst firm Strategy Analytics has forecast Samsung will sell 290 million smartphones in 2013 compared with iPhone sales of 180 million.

Apple did not reply to calls or emails asking for comment.

Apple's share price has fallen 28% since closing at a record $702.10 in September.

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