Monday July 18, 2011 3:24 pm
Apple finally able to meet iPad 2 demand
Since the launch of the iPad 2 in March, Apple has faced a conundrum any other maker of tablet computers would love to be experiencing—too little product for too much demand. But the days of iPad 2 shortages may finally be over.
Apple has reportedly started jacking up production of iPad 2s for anticipated third-quarter shipments of about 14 million units. It's about time, given that iPad 2 buyers have had to wait as long as a month or more for their tablets to arrive since the second-generation device was first released.
Now Fortune reader Howard Kaplan noticed Saturday that Apple has tightened its shipping time estimates for iPad 2 orders to 1-3 business days (see screenshot, below). That's down from the 3-5 days of shipping time Apple has been promoting since July 8, which in turn marked a significant reduction in wait time from the 1-2 weeks it was taking to receive an iPad 2 from mid-April to this month.
And it was even worse around the time of tablet's release itself. The wait time for an iPad 2 in mid-March was a whopping 4-5 weeks.
Apple's second-generation tablet didn't come roaring out of the gate in terms of sales figures as rapidly as many analysts expected. The company posted stellar financials for its first fiscal quarter earlier this year, but tucked in those numbers was a steep decline in the number of iPads sold, 4.69 million, as compared with the previous quarter, when Apple sold 7.33 million.
Various reasons for the drop in unit sales were offered. They included simple seasonality—consumers; naturally bought more iPads during the holidays than in the first few months of 2011. There was also the fact that Apple uncharacteristically pre-announced the iPad 2 several weeks before it was released, meaning the company may have lost some crucial weeks of sales as consumers who might have bought first-generation iPads chose to wait for the second version.
But Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, said at the time that the company was facing "the mother of all backlogs" with the iPad 2. That led to speculation that Apple might be having manufacturing issues with the second-generation tablet, whether with sourcing components or with a glitch of some sort.
Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at IHS iSuppli, believed Apple had run into some issues with touch screens and the new dual-core processor used in the iPad 2 because the company originally had planned an April or May release for the tablet. It may have pulled that in to better compete with other dual-core tablets hitting the market at the time, she said.
"So the iPad 2 situation—they; were doing some major changes," Alexander said in April. "I know it didn't necessarily look major, but within the depth of the unit, the weight of the unit, etcetera—they made some pretty significant changes in there.
"When we looked at the manufacturing numbers, they must have run into some manufacturing issues, some quality issues in terms of turning those products around, because we didn't see the volume manufactured that we expected to see in the first quarter. So even though we expected stronger iPad numbers in the first quarter, we expected mostly iPad 1, not iPad 2. When we were able to get estimated iPad 2 production numbers from various sources within Asia, it looked light to us."
This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.