Apple (AAPL) may have sold too many of its new iPads in the United States. It also may have built too few units to allow it to begin to sell the product overseas later this month as planned. Whatever the reason, Apple will have to ramp up iPad manufacturing as fast as it possibly can.
Apple today announced, “Faced with this surprisingly strong U.S. demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10.” The company also said it had sold 500,000 iPads in America and expected demand to stay strong.
Apple is normally very good at estimating consumer demand for its products. There are never shortages of iPhones or iPods. And, because of the expectation of “on-time sales,” customers outside the United States will be disappointed with the delay.
The lack of product is unexpected because many analysts believed that Apple would sell more than 500,000 units in the United States before the end of April. That means that poor manufacturing planning is the most likely cause for the problem
The iPad launch in the United States has been successful enough that there is already a rush of developers competing for lead spots in the Apple App store. The iPad has also spawned a number of competitors, the most visible of which is the Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Slate. Dell (DELL) will also probably come to market with a tablet computer powered by Windows 7.
Apple may have fumbled the overseas iPad launch, but it would be surprising if that effects demand.
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