Apple delays international iPad launch as demand outstrips supply

Apple delays international iPad launch as demand outstrips supply

Summary: Apple said Wednesday that it is delaying the international launch of the iPad by a month because it can't keep up with demand.

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Special Report: Apple iPad

Apple said Wednesday that it is delaying the international launch of the iPad by a month because it can't keep up with demand.

The company said in a statement:

Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks.

Toss in preorders for iPad 3G models by the end of April and Apple can't meet demand.

Given the supply situation, Apple said it won't launch the iPad abroad until the end of May. Apple plans on taking preorders for the international iPad May 10.

While Apple used its statement to describe the iPad as a "a runaway success in the U.S. thus far" there are a few missing elements that inquiring minds would want to know about.

To wit:

  • What was Apple projecting in terms of demand?
  • Are there component shortages that would prevent more iPad production?
  • Apple's store isn't out of stock and iPads appear available. Is this a conscious decision by Apple to make ensure it can satisfy U.S. demand first? Or is this a case of a manufactured shortage?
  • Are unit sales keeping pace with the first week's haul?

Rest assured Apple isn't going to answer these questions, but you have to wonder.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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31 comments
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  • It's a marketing ploy!

    Artifically inflate demand by creating a percieved shortage. This is a standard marketing tactic. "BUY NOW because supplies are limited!!" We've all heard these ads on late night tv. A month ago they were predicting 750,000 to 1,000,000 in the first week. What were the first week's result. According to the company statement, 500,000. How do you push sales to early adopters. Create a "perceived" shortage. "BUY NOW because supplies are limited!!"
    Scubajrr
    • Unlikely

      "A month ago they [Apple] were predicting 750,000 to 1,000,000 in the first week."
      Wrong!
      Apple never issues sales projections.
      Financial analysts do and then they guess what the actuals were.
      Apple, on the other hand, only talks in the vaguest possible terms.
      They won't even divulge the iPad numbers in their 10Q as they will lump the iPod, iPhone and IPad into a single bucket.
      davebarnes
    • Apple mad NO prediction!

      All the predictions were made by analyst aon gossip-producing bloggers
      financegozu
      • A thousand pardons! But it's still Marketing.

        I apologize for listening to bloggers rather than St. Jobs. But I still contend that the "shortage" is marketing hype. Want an iPad, walk into BestBuy and pick one up. I was in the Brick, NJ Bestbuy last night and they had all 3 versions available in stock. Apple store in NY, in stock. What shortage. Where are they "sold out"?
        Scubajrr
        • That's the retail channel

          There might be some iPad units here and there at Best Buys and Apple
          stores, but what Apple is saying is that the supply chain has run out for
          now until more are manufactured and shipped. It makes sense for them
          to delay the international launch until they can get another 500K units or
          more to fill the launch week demand.

          Hmm, 500K already sold ...I guess iPad wasn't the massive failure that
          the naysayers were predicting, even if this shortage was even half-way
          manufactured ...which I very much doubt it was. Asking for 500K of this
          product for the initial launch was a very gutsy guess on Apple's part to
          begin with.
          jaypeg
          • Here's a personal observation:

            I went to the Apple store this past saturday to pick up a protective case
            for my iPhone and take a look at the iPad itself. While handling and
            'playing' with one of the display models, I watched, in the course of only
            ten minutes, 4 iPads and an iMac sold and delivered. By this observation,
            it appears to me that demand is significantly higher, even a week after
            release, than almost all the pundits expected.

            I remember how many of the people commenting on this particular blog
            claimed that sales would plummet within a week. Based on my
            observation, they were wrong.
            Vulpinemac
          • Here's a Public observation

            You said: I remember how many of the people commenting on this particular blog
            claimed that sales would plummet within a week. Based on my
            observation, they were wrong.

            I reply: Sales in the first day were 350,000, probably including preorders. Total sales of 500,000 in the first week means that 150,000 were sold in the next 6 days. That means that daily sales went from 350,000/day to 25,000/day in the first week. That's a 93% drop...how can you deny that overall, sales plummetted 'within a week?'
            rbuyaky@...
          • Here's the Wall Street observation

            Buy APPL.
            The Danger is Microsoft
  • RE: Apple delays international iPad launch as demand outstrips supply

    I apologize for listening to bloggers rather than St. Jobs. But I still contend that the "shortage" is marketing hype. Want an iPad, walk into BestBuy and pick one up. I was in the Brick, NJ Bestbuy last night and they had all 3 versions available in stock. Apple store in NY, in stock. What shortage. Where are they "sold out"?
    Scubajrr
    • Sorry, Meant as reply to comment above.

      Sorry, Meant as reply to comment above.
      Scubajrr
    • It's the same story by me

      iPads are widely available. But I have seen some analyst notes saying that they expect component shortages to keep a lid on the units sold. It may be that there just aren't enough components to project an international launch right now. Something does bug me about this shortage contention. You'd have sell outs somewhere right?
      Larry Dignan
      • Not necessarily.

        If the company projected, say, one million units sold in the first month,
        that averages to 250,000 per week, right? So they pre-build that million
        and maintain production at established levels expecting to pre-stock
        their overseas outlets for their release date. However, if sales exceed
        their estimates, units intended for overseas now have to replace
        rapidly-diminishing stocks stateside. Proof of this is that there have
        already been reports of iPads sold with German set as the default
        language.

        Keep in mind that Apple is practically the King of Just-In-Time
        shipping; they're noted for maintaining the lowest in-stock inventory
        while maintaining delivery rates that meet demand. The anti-Apple
        zealots' own arguments that the iPad was a waste and a failure even
        before hitting the shelves could well have influenced the estimates so
        that Apple expected lower sales than occurred. In other words, don't
        blame Apple, blame yourselves. You say it was intentional by Apple, but
        you, yourselves, zealots, created this shortage.
        Vulpinemac
        • Supply chain

          I don't think you can validly argue that this is an intentional ploy. But there are supply chain problems and Apple decided to focus on its core U.S. market.
          Larry Dignan
    • Given your first post...

      and the fact that you had no idea what you were talking about, I'd say
      your "contention" doesn't mean much.
      msalzberg
  • Did you do any research?

    The online store says ships in 5 - 7 business days, as
    compared to the MacBook Pro which ships in 1 -3
    business days, or the iMac, which ships within 24 hours.
    So no, they are not "in stock" at the online Apple Store.

    The Upper West Side Apple Store in NYC had none as of
    11:30am last Wednesday, got a shipment about noon, and
    was sold out of 16GB models by 12:20, which is when I
    went in.

    I'd say that Apple wasn't quite prepared for the number of
    sales of iPads.

    EDIT: Actually, Apple's statement includes the phrase "surprising
    demand," which means it's above their projections.
    msalzberg
    • Can you read?

      INTERNATIONAL = outside USA.
      The 'G-Man.'
      • Can YOU read?

        "Apple?s store isn?t out of stock and iPads appear available."

        You should read the article and not just the headline.
        msalzberg
    • Or.

      "Actually, Apple's statement includes the phrase "surprising demand," which means it's above their projections."

      Or below.
      CharlieSpencer
      • It could, unless you actually read the statement...

        "demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to
        exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and
        touch an iPad?. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for
        iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.

        Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand...."

        Of course, if by "higher than we predicted" they meant "lower than
        predicted," then it could be below their projections.
        msalzberg
  • Sure it does

    They do this every time, how old!
    The 'G-Man.'