Apple Runs Low on iPads

iPad featured on Apple websiteApple (AAPL) will launch its new iPad on Apr. 3, but people who order the tablet computer now won't get it right away. Apple's website shows that an iPad ordered today may not be sent out until Apr. 12. At least Apple is offering free shipping.Apple is famous for its secretiveness and, as expected, isn't offering an explanation for the late shipping, leaving analysts to wonder at the reasons.

Reuters speculates that the late iPad shipments may be because the company has more orders than it expected. If so, it would surpass even optimistic estimates of the device's success. BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman thinks Apple will sell 2.3 million iPads during its current fiscal year, according toBarron's.

Unexpected demand may not be the only reason. It also implies that Apple cannot assemble enough of the products. The problem could go even deeper: Apple may face slow manufacturing at one of it component suppliers, a circumstance the consumer electronics and personal computer company cannot control.

Or there may be a quality issue with one of the iPad's components that Apple may have found out about in the last few days. That could cause the company the embarrassment of admitting that a supplier's product slipped through Apple's quality-control process. Sometimes even the most successful companies have quality assurance problems.
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