Apple IPhone's Shine May Be Fading

Morning Business Memo….

Weaker than expected demand for the Apple iPhone? The Wall Street Journal says Apple's orders for iPhone 5 screens for the January-March quarter have dropped to around half of what the company planned previously. Japan's Nikkei newspaper reports two Apple LCD panel suppliers in Asia reduced production. Apple shares dropped this morning in pre-market and overseas trading.

Samsung Electronics says global sales of its Galaxy S smartphone series blew past the competition, reaching more than 100 million units since the first model was launched less than three years ago. The South Korean firm announced today that it sold more than 25 million Galaxy S, 40 million Galaxy S II and 41 million Galaxy S III smartphones in the last three years. Samsung rolled out the first Galaxy S model at the end of May 2010, scrambling to catch up with Apple. Despite a late entry, Samsung became the biggest smartphone maker.

The list of potential Dreamliner problems for Boeing is getting longer. Japan Airlines reports a fuel leak in 787 jet for the second time in a week. The discovery, made during an inspection, comes as US regulators ramp up a new safety review of the aircraft. Japan's All Nippon Airways has experienced a fuel leak, a cockpit window crack and a computer malfunctioning in its 787s, causing cancellations of several domestic flights. The US government said Friday the 787 is safe to fly, though it launched an investigation into the cause of various problems. The 787 is Boeing's newest and most high-tech airliner: the first plane to be built out of carbon fiber. Japanese airlines are among the top 787 customers.

For Boeing the stakes could hardly be higher. About 50 Dreamliners were delivered last year and nearly double that number are expected to roll off production lines during 2013. But there have been disappointments as design and production problems forced a three-year delay before the first planes were ready. The Dreamliner went into service 15 months ago after a certification process of 200,000 hours by the FAA.

Delegates from more than 130 nations are working on a final round of negotiations that may lead to the creation of the first legally binding international treaty to reduce mercury emissions. The treaty would set enforceable limits on the emissions of mercury, a highly-toxic metal that is widely used in chemical production and small-scale mining, particularly artisanal gold production. The UN Environment Program reported last week that mercury pollution in the top layer of the world's oceans has doubled in the past century, part of a man-made problem that will require international cooperation to fix. The report showed for the first time that hundreds of tons of mercury have leaked from the soil into rivers and lakes around the world.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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