About That March iPad Release Date…
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPad on Jan. 27, he said it would be “available” in 60 days, implying an on-sale date of March 25. By announcing a pre-sale date of March 12, as it did this morning, the company has technically fulfilled that promise–yet it is not delivering the device to customers until April 3, about a week later.
If the ship date was to be April 3, why didn’t Jobs say so at the January event?
Obviously, it’s impossible to say. Though it’s certainly interesting that Jobs couldn’t offer a hard ship date for a major product that was just two months out.
Does this mean Apple (AAPL) may have run into a bit of an iPad manufacturing hiccup after all? I suppose it’s possible. Cannaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek, who first reported alleged production issues with the iPad, certainly thinks so.
“In our previous note we discussed that the upcoming iPad launch may be somewhat limited as a manufacturing bottleneck has impacted production,” Misek wrote in a research note to clients this morning. “We also suggested that there is a possibility that the launch will be delayed by a month due to a limited number of units available.”
Updating his assessment, the analyst notes, “According to today’s announcement, iPad is delayed by a week in the U.S. and by a month for some international markets. We believe the delay was caused by an unspecified production problem at the iPad’s manufacturer as we indicated earlier this week.”
Or perhaps this is simply about Apple’s level of visibility into its supply chain. After all, you’d think if there really had been production issues with the device, we would have been looking at delays of far longer than just a few days.
Either way, it’s really not of consequence to the company in any material sense. At $218.50, Apple shares are up nearly four percent on news of the April ship date. Obviously, Wall Street doesn’t care whether the iPad is late or not. And in the end, does it really even matter?
UPDATE: John Gruber has some interesting thoughts on all this over at Daring Fireball.