iPad "Supply Constraints" Causing Shortages
As continued robust sales of the iPad stress Apple's ability to keep up with demand, analysts are identifying shortages at many retail outlets, and online Apple Store wait times
have increased to two weeks and the pipeline for iPads outside the US has just dried up. It's gotten to the point that Wall Street - which has been pushing Apple's stock price higher and higher with every report of iPad sales - is beginning to worry if Apple can deliver on the hype it carefully built over the past year or so.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster did spot-checks of fifty Apple stores this week
, according the the Forbes Apple 2.0 blogger Philip Elmer-DeWitt, and discovered the devastation wrought by hordes of iPad-hungry consumers: thirty-seven of them (or 74%) were completely sold out of all iPad models, with only 13 (26%) still having Wi-Fi iPads in stock. None of the stores Munster called had any Wi-Fi + 3G models on hand. Munster told his clients that he expects "supply constraints to last throughout the June quarter, reaching equilibrium in mid-to-late Sept. quarter." While he thinks his previous prediction (of 1.3 million iPads sold in the June quarter) was too low, Munster is warning of problems ahead if Apple can't increase production: "While we see upside to our 1.3m iPad estimate in the June quarter and believe in the iPad as a long-term investable theme, we believe near-term Street numbers are getting ahead of Apple's supply." Translated: investors who are driving Apple stocks up, expecting a ton of iPads to be sold, are being too optimistic.
Meanwhile, the second of two batches of iPads prepared for sale outside the US
has apparently sold out, leaving only a vague "June" as the expected ship date for international customers.