Analyst: Apple iPad launch likely delayed

An “unspecified production line” issue may force apple to delay the release of the highly-anticipated iPad tablet device, according to analysts.

The Cupertino-based company could release a smaller batch of iPads by the end of March, with no official statements being released by Apple thus far.  The “bottleneck” was caused by Hon Hai Precision, but the exact issues behind the delay were not disclosed.

Apple has not surprisingly kept the iPad release day quiet – and initial shipment numbers have also stayed under wraps – though Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek thinks just 300,000 iPads will be available at launch.  It was expected upwards of 1 million would be available at launch, and a smaller stock of 300K could lead to a sell out and shortages.

Analyst: Apple iPad launch likely delayed

Wi-Fi enabled iPads are expected later this month, while 3G models are expected sometime in April.

I doubt a month or two of additional consumer-waiting will hurt Apple much, as the company continues to have a strong following among many tech consumers.  Apple’s shares also remained strong even after the release of Misek’s note, indicating the company will be okay in the short-term.

Consumer demand appears to be lower for the Ipad, compared to previous Apple products. Apple said it will remain nimble on pricing if consumer demand drops.  Canaccord predicts Apple will sell 1.2 million iPads in its 2010 fiscal year, but analysts also are having a difficult time agreeing on an anticipated sales figure.