Merrill Lynch this morning warned that inventory checks reveal that Apple’s December quarter could be lighter than expected due to product transitions. In particular, the firm pointed out that many consumers may have delayed purchases as a result of the recent hype surrounding Macworld Expo. Merrill Lynch maintained its immediate term Neutral rating on the stock. Shares of Apple have declined more than 10 percent this week following the company’s Monday announcements. Apple will announce its earnings on January 16.