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Apple trimming notebook orders; plans fixes for new models

Apple has decided to cut back on its notebook production for the current holiday quarter, according to one report. Meanwhile, the company is said to be working on a software fix for at least one issue surrounding its latest offerings.

MacBook production cut

The Chinese-language Commercial Times said Monday that both Apple and Asustek have recently reduced orders for notebooks that will be manufactured this quarter by 20 to 30 percent.

Quanta, which shares MacBook assembly duties with Foxconn, will absorb the impact of the cuts, according to the paper, which did not provide figures on how many units the company had initially ordered.

Also unclear is whether Apple is seeing reduced demand across the board, or if the cuts pertain to a specific model. It was reported last month that Quanta and Foxconn were splitting orders for some 300,000-400,000 previous-genration white 13-inch MacBooks, which the Mac maker now sells for $999.

It's possible Apple may be seeing lower than expected demand for those older systems as users gravitate towards the more premium offerings of the new unibody models, which fetch $300 more.

The Cupertino-based company admitted to seeing a drop-off in notebook demand in the weeks leading up to last month's introductions but said sales took off once the new MacBook lines were introduced.

"As you know, there were rampant rumors and lots of press reports about a potential portable transition and we saw some slowing toward particularly the final weeks of September and the initial weeks of October," chief operating office Tim Cook said during a conference call. "However, once announcing last week, we saw a considerable rebound in sales and we’re very, very optimistic about those results."

Software patch coming for display issues

Meanwhile, Apple is working on another software update for its unibody MacBooks to address external video glitches, according to one customer who spoke to the company's support teams.

Specifically, the customer was experiencing issues with his new MacBook Pro connected to an external display, where the display would sporadically lose signal for a second and flick back on.

"After not finding anything the technician put me on hold to talk to the engineers and then updated me that it is now a known issue that will be addressed in a software patch sometime in the future," he told AppleInsider.

The issue is said to be similar, but not identical to those experienced by other users attempting to use their new MacBooks with external displays. There's a thread on Apple's support forum from users who say their external video feed cuts in and out when attempting to playback QuickTime support media, and another where users say iTunes movies fail to display on external displays connected to the new notebooks over a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter.

The new MacBook Pro's sleep functionality is also being cited as the source of two more widely reported issues. In one thread, users explain that their external displays connected via a DVI adapter routinely fail to come back on after a period of sleep unless they're physically unplugged from the notebooks and then reconnected.

Another thread is full of complaints from users who say sleep mode is malfunctioning, leaving users to find their notebook batteries drained and the systems running unusually hot when they should have been idle.