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Analyst Says iPad Launch May Be Delayed

Yara Souza

Analyst Peter Misek of Canaccord Adams wrote in a note to investors that a "manufacturing bottleneck" may limit the number of units available, Apple Insider reported Monday.

"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 300K in the month of march, far lower than the company's initial estimate of 1,000K units," Misek wrote.

"The delay in production ramp will likely impact Apple's April unit estimate of [800,000] as well," Misek added. "It is also possible that, given the limited number of units available in March, the launch will be delayed for a month."

One Apple reseller, however, remained optimistic about the iPad's prospects. Nick Gold, senior account executive for Baltimore, Md.-based Chesapeake Systems, doesn't think these issues will necessarily hurt sales.

"Even if [the report of production problems] is true, we have no way to know for sure," he said. "I doubt any speculation by such analysts, as most of them tend to be wrong. I predict the iPad to be extraordinarily successful -- much more so than most people are predicting."

Gold added that he would like to see the iPad being sold through resellers, but understands the channel sales strategy is still being ironed out.

"Apple may keep the channel limited at first -- and possibly as supply catches up with demand they open it up -- but at this point, it's anyone's guess," Gold said.

Whether the iPad will reach the same level of success as the iPhone is unclear. Other companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Sony, Acer and Hewlett-Packard all have plans to roll out their own competing versions within the tablet PC niche.

Misek's forecast holds that Apple will sell 1.2 million iPad units in the 2010 fiscal year, with this figure climbing to 3.5 million in 2011 -- once its production process is figured out, according to the Apple Insider.

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