Analyst scares up iPad delay warning

According to one analyst there is a good chance Apple's retail iPad debut will be delayed and supplies will be tight.

Don't look now, it's another iPad rumor, this time claiming that production bottlenecks will either delay the iPad's launch or tighten initial inventories of Apple's tablet.

The report comes from Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek, who said there's an "unspecified production problem" with iPad manufacturer Hon Hai Precision. This will reportedly limit the number of iPads sold at launch to 300,000, and they'll only be available in the United States. It's possible, Misek said, that Apple will delay the launch until April due to the extremely low number of iPads for sale.

Approach the news with skepticism. Misek previously told his clients that Apple would announce the iPhone 4G for Verizon Wireless at its January iPad event, and that didn't happen. For what it's worth, Misek has backtracked on his claim, saying he now believes the iPhone won't launch on Verizon Wireless until Apple's first financial quarter of 2011 (which is actually the last quarter of 2010).

I'm more inclined to believe the first part of Misek's note -- that the iPad will be in short supply at launch -- than his claim that Apple will delay the launch to let production catch up. Misek's sources are on the manufacturing side, not within Apple. Delaying the iPad would be Apple's call, not a decision by overseas manufacturers. So to say that Apple will delay the iPad's launch due to production problems is not a rumor from manufacturer sources, but pure speculation.

Besides, supply shortages aren't new for Apple. The iPhone 3G was particularly difficult to find in stores, with just 9 percent of Apple stories carrying the device at one point over its debut weekend. And for a new product, a little consumer hysteria in the form of a supply shortage wouldn't be a bad thing for Apple -- but that's just speculation on my part.

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Jared Newman

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