Home Your Tech Home Tech Apple iPad delay rumours possibly confirmed by Foxconn suppliers?

Apple iPad delay rumours possibly confirmed by Foxconn suppliers?

Although news reports suggest that Foxconn, the parent company of Hon Hai Precision, has claimed that 'supplies are on schedule', the numbers of iPads due looks set to be higher than analyst Misek's claim of only 300,000 iPads, but less than Apple's target of 1,000,000 in March - so is there lower production or not?

The iPad rumours are raging thick and fast in the last three weeks before the iPad is due to hit retail shelves 'in late March' as Apple promised, with the even more desirable 3G and GPS equipped version due 30 days after that.

First up was Peter Misek from Canaccord Adams, scaring the bejesus out of ardent Apple fans desperate to get their hands of the Jesus Tablet, or Jesus Pad.

He suggested that Hon Hai Precision, part of Foxconn, had 'unspecified production problems' that would see the expected initial shipment of 1,000,000 Wi-Fi iPads drop to only 300,000 in the crucial first month of production when the success or otherwise of the iPad launch will be widely reported on.

This was quickly followed by a report from The Examiner suggesting a March 26 launch was 'very likely' after all, delivering on Apple's promise of a late March launch after all.

One of the leaks from The Examiner was that the 3G version wouldn't be available until April or May, but is this so surprising? April comes after March, which dovetails nicely with the view that the 3G version would appear 30 days after the Wi-Fi version.

A May launch could indicate a delay, and lend some 'truth' to the Misek report, but if Misek is wrong, then the Canaccard analyst will be accused of delivering a canard.

It all depends, on course, when precisely in May the 3G/GPS iPad is delivered. If it's early in May, then the delay is but a few days. If it's late in May, then the 'unspecified production problem' Misek mentioned could well be accurate. We'll just have to wait and see on that one.

So, what is this about Foxconn's suppliers potentially CONFIRMING an iPad delay? Well, it's all down to the wording of what Foxconn is alleged to have said'¦ and some anaylsis of that awaits ye, thee and me on page 2 - please read on!

We've heard that those who are willing to camp out for an iPad could well be in line for a 'special gift', and that TV ads for the iPad are iComing soon.

But all of this will depend on just how many iPads that Foxconn and Hon Hai Precision are able to manufacture.

Taiwanese tech publication Digitimes has reported on the supposed Misek delay, which may or may not be a Canaccord canard, and has done so by going to the source.

Digitimes reports that Foxconn's suppliers - not Foxconn itself - have told Digitimes that 'their supplies are on schedule' which should allow Foxconn 'to ship 600,000 to 700,000 iPads in March and one million units in April'.

This is a higher figure for March than reported by Misek, who pointed to a lowly 300,000 units, but higher for April, where Misek suggested only 800,000 units would be forthcoming, a curiously 'low' number for a second month of production where one might imagine the raging success of the iPad would boost demand, not lower it.

However, given that Apple is supposed to have wanted 1,000,000 units for March, a 600,000 to 700,000 figure certainly is lower than that expectation, but at least double that which Misek maintained would be the go.

It would also presumably be just enough units to avoid any delay to the iPad's launch, and if these 'lower' numbers are accurate, would simply ensure that the famous 'sold out' phenomenon that has happened with previous iPhones at launch time will happen yet again for the iPad, thus giving the iPad a cachet of truly being so desirable that it's impossible to get, while giving the lucky few with an iPad that extra cred only Apple products seem to deliver.

That said, final production numbers are unknown, and if they are indeed too low, then Apple could well make that predicted delay, taking a "bad press" hit now to avoid a bigger bad press hit in the future. Predicting such things however is difficult - you probably have a better chance of picking the winning lotto numbers first.

So'¦ no-one besides Foxconn, some select suppliers and Steve Jobs' inner circle knows the truth, but in just over 20 days, we'll all know just how precise Hon Hai Precision was in delivering the goods - although the iPhone 4.0 and iPhone OS 4.0 rumours will certainly accelerate!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.