Apple iPad 'will be in short supply'
An analyst has warned that manufacturing issues could lead to a shortage of Apple iPads.
Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams, said that gadget fans keen to be among the first to get their hands on an iPad could be left disappointed.
He said that he had heard rumours of production issues at the Far East plant responsible for making many of the iPad's key components, and that could affect the number of units ready at launch.
“We have heard that the forthcoming iPad launch may be somewhat limited as a manufacturing bottleneck has impacted production of Apple’s newest device,” he wrote in a research note.
“An unspecified production problem at the iPad’s manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision, will likely limit the launch region to the US and the number of units available to roughly 300,000 in the month of March, far lower than the company’s initial estimate of one million units.
"The delay in production ramp will likely impact Apple’s April unit estimate of 800,000 as well. It is also possible that, given the limited number of units available in March, the launch will be delayed for a month.”
However, Misek does not believe the initial supply problems will negatively affect overall sales of the touch-screen, tablet-style computer.
He estimates that Apple will sell 550,000 iPads in the third quarter, a total of 1.2 million iPads this year, and 3.5 million by the end of 2011.
“We believe that the only material impact from the iPad delay could come in the form of frustrated consumers and some modest loss of lustre for the company’s product launch.”
Apple has not yet announced UK and Ireland pricing for its iPad range of tablet-style computers, which are expected to go on sale by the end of this month.
However, it is rumoured that the entry-level iPad will cost £389, compared to $499 for the same model in the United States.
Apple last week confirmed that some of its Chinese manufacturing plants had used child labour to build iPods and other Apple products.
Apple said it had since reviewed the employment records and working conditions of all factories involved, and that underage workers were no longer employed at the factories.