updated 12:25 pm EST, Mon February 28, 2011
Analysts differ on iPad 2 shortage
A pair of analyst reports on Monday created contradictory images of the supply Apple will have for the next iPad after its March 2 event. Goldman Sachs claimed based on Asian sources that the new, thinner screen was facing early yield issues. The bank's researchers understood that this was more a "process problem" inherent to starting up a new technique and that it would be cured soon.
FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger, however, said in his own research note that he had been told that "key bottlenecks" like the touchscreen had been fixed. He had originally thought just 300,000 of the new iPad would ship but now expected two million of them to ship in the current quarter ending in March.
The increase led Berger to raise his iPad unit estimates for the quarter from 5.1 million to 5.5 million. He also dramatically shifted his estimates for the spring to 7.2 million and estimated that virtually all would be the new iPad where he had assumed before that it would be a 50 percent split with the old model.
Both implied that screen supply had been an issue at some stage but otherwise painted very different images that could have a significant impact on availability. While few have put the release of a new iPad any later than April, the healthy supply suggested by FBR Capital could support notions of the new iPad being available almost immediately. Two million would be enough to supply initial demand for at least the US and could allow for sales in some other major iPad markets, such as Canada and the UK.
Analyst reports often aren't necessarily indicators of future plans and can have missing facts even if their sources are accurate. FBR Capital's report may have support just from Apple's decision to hold an iPad event in early March, indicating that it's virtually ready to ship.