Apple Sold Out of iPads? Techies Don't Buy It

Skeptics pick apart Apple's excuse for delaying its international launch

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Apple is delaying the international launch of the iPad by one month. Why? According to the company, the iPad's been a "runaway success" and U.S. demand for the product has outstripped all expectations. As a result, foreigners will now have to wait until May 10 to pre-order the sleek new device.

The tech community has greeted Apple's announcement with near-universal skepticism, however. Too many people bought iPads? Not likely, say tech observers. Here are the competing theories:
  • Sounds Like Supply Chain Problems, writes Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune: "Before the iPad launched, reports attributed to Apple's Asian suppliers suggested that the company had hit production snags that might reduce a planned build of 1 million iPads by April 3 to as few as 300,000. Apple was evidently able to build more than the smaller number, but it seems to have fallen short of the higher."
  • I Suspect Apple Got Too Many Wi-Fi Orders, writes Kevin Tofel at Gigaom: "Is this just a simple supply and demand issue? I don’t think so. My suspicion is that Apple didn’t predict the right product model mix between the Wi-Fi and 3G versions of its iPad. Early sales estimates showed that nearly two of every three iPad orders were for Wi-Fi models. I personally find the device better suited to use in the home, where typically a Wi-Fi signal is available. Additionally, all early reviews and video demonstrations are based on the Wi-Fi model, which could be further generating consumer interest in it."
  • They're Trying to Boost Hype suggests Asavin Wattanajantra at Tech Eye: "The more cynical reader could see this as more as a marketing ploy to increase the hype in other countries because it wasn’t doing as well as it should be in the US."
  • This Raises a Lot of Questions, writes Larry Dignan at ZDNet
-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?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.