In stark contrast to days gone by, when Apple had to struggle to keep up with demand for its popular iPhones, industry observers say the company is now cutting back on production of the current models in anticipation of show holiday-season sales.

In fact, market analyst Craig Berger of FBR Capital Markets is quoted by CNet News as saying his research confirms that Apple has quietly cut its Q4 2008 iPhone order by 40 per cent compared to its Q3 order. Berger noites that Apple actually sold about 6.3 iPhones during Q3, but that doesn’t necessarily correspond to the number it may actually have ordered.

Industry observers say iPhone sales may be sagging in response to the worldwide economic slump. Recent market surveys indicate that consumers will probably spend less on consumer electronics items this holiday season and that many families are planning to pool their Christmas gift dollars to buy one large gift which can be used, or enjoyed, by the entire family, rather than buying smaller gifts — such as new cell phones — for individual family members.

Some observers suggest that Apple may simply be scaling back production after gearing up to meet the surge in demand for the new iPhone 3G, which sold out its initial production run soon after its launch last June.

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