updated 11:55 am EST, Mon March 1, 2010
Apple may suffer Kindle-style device shortage
Apple may have low supplies of the iPad if it goes on sale as planned, according to a note by Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek. He claims that Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) has had an "unspecified production problem" and that Apple might have just 300,000 tablets available by the end of March. Allegedly, the American company had expected as many as one million iPads for the same period.
The shortage could create a ripple effect and whittle down Apple's predictions for April, which Misek claims sat at 800,000 until now. He speculates that Apple could even push back the launch by a month to ensure enough stock, although this remains just a possibility.
Technical issues are believed to have led to the iPad facing an original delay as glass strength issues may have prevented Apple from producing as many as it would have liked. It's unclear if this plays into Misek's predictions. Apple, however, has indirectly hinted at possible production concerns as the 3G-capable iPad's release was set from the start to take place in April, or enough time to build the extra units.
As with most analyst reports, Apple hasn't commented on the accuracy of the supposed leak.
Such a delay would put Apple in the same situation as many of the e-book device makers it hopes to compete against. Amazon's first two holidays of Kindle sales were plagued by sustained shortages that most now believe directly stemmed from supply issues that weren't cleared up until 2009. Barnes & Noble also encountered a similar problem, promising the Nook in October but failing to ship the Android e-reader to retail stores until mid-February. In all cases it has been display technology, whether e-paper or Apple's 9.7-inch multi-touch LCD, cited as the root cause.