Apple Computer Inc., once the high-flying pioneer of the personal computer industry, yesterday announced that it would lay off 1,200 employes as part of a reorganization to streamline and consolidate the company's operations.

The layoffs, which were expected, come in the midst of an industrywide decline in the growth of the computer industry. Numerous small computer manufacturers have reported losses, and even International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest computer company, has backed off from earlier forecasts projecting "solid growth" through the end of the year.

Apple's layoffs come two weeks after a major corporate reorganization that combined the company's Macintosh and Apple II computer divisions and removed day-to-day operating responsibility from 30-year-old Apple chairman and cofounder Steven Jobs.

At that time, top Apple executives said that layoffs would result from eliminating "redundant" positions as the two computer divisions were consolidated. However, the executives declined to say how many employes ultimately would be laid off. Earlier, inside sources had indicated that the number would be somewhere between 800 to 1,000 of the company's roughly 5,600 employes.

The company is projecting a one-time, third-quarter loss as a result of the consolidation that some analysts project may be close to $20 million.

"The slump in the personal computer industry is significant and Apple has taken aggressive steps to bring our organization in line with these conditions," said John Sculley, Apple's president and chief executive officer. "We've made the tough decisions necessary to create a unified, cost-effective company focused on our key markets."

Last month, the company said third-quarter earnings would be lower than second-quarter earnings -- which were $9.98 million, or 16 cents a share, on revenue of $435.3 million.

Apple's stock closed yesterday at 14 3/4, down 1/8 on volume of more than 2.5 million shares. The stock was the most actively traded over-the-counter stock yesterday.