Apple had an immensely successful launch of the iPad 2 in the United States last week, with analysts projecting that the company would sell over 1 million units in the first weekend alone. That success, however, has resulted in some lengthy lead times for consumers who weren’t lucky enough to get their hands on one at launch.
Lead times for the iPad 2 had risen to 2-3 weeks on just the first day of sales, but now those who are longing for the sleek, new model are being told by Apple that they will need to wait 1-2 months for their tablet to ship.
“It kind of says that Apple misread demand,” said analyst Stephen Baker, who works with retail research firm NPD Group. “But then, everybody misread demand. This was an incremental product change and so we all probably missed this one. The market for this category has expanded dramatically, and interest in tablets is way up, whether [the iPad 2] is incremental or not.”
Other analysts advise that just because there is a wait for online orders doesn’t mean that consumers won’t be able to find the iPad 2 anywhere.
“Just because Apple’s showing four to five weeks does not necessarily mean that’s the next time you can buy one,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. “I expect that Apple will stagger shipments to its retail stores, with the next large one coming Monday, March 21.”
The shortage has caused some to question whether the disaster situation in Japan could be a cause. That is not the case, however, advises IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander.
“The current shortage is not at all related to Japan,” Alexander said, referring to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear plant emergencies that have affected many electronics manufacturers. “It’s the usual case of a new product and new excitement. Apple is just ramping up now and [the demand is due to the fact] that there’s a huge portion of consumers who will not buy a first-generation product no matter what.”
The emergency has, however, prompted Apple to delay the scheduled release of the iPad 2 in Japan, originally set for March 25th, “indefinitely.”
“We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster,” Apple representative Natalie Kerris told the BBC.
I haven’t tried to get a hold of an iPad 2 yet because we’ve decided not to upgrade from the first generation model for a while, but for those who are trying to obtain one, it can be frustrating to learn that you have to possibly wait two months for the device. Often times, computer companies will quote an extra-long lead time as not to disappoint those who order if the schedule is delayed. Hopefully that is the case for those trying to order an iPad 2.