iPad supply matches demand five months after launch

Apple offers next-day shipping for first time since tablet's April 3 debut

Nearly five months after the iPad's launch, Apple has finally matched supply with demand.

Apple's online store now shows that iPad orders will be shipped within 24 hours, the first time the tablet has been available for next-day shipping since its early April debut.

Although Apple took pre-orders for almost a month before the April 3 launch, subsequent orders for the iPad were delayed 15 business days, a mark that fell to seven to 10 days by mid-May. Earlier this month, shipping delays dropped again, first to five to seven days and then to one to three days.

Last month, Apple's executives acknowledged that they had underestimated demand for the tablet.

"We went into the iPad thinking that planning of 1 million from our capacity was a very bold move," Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a July earnings call with Wall Street analysts when he was asked whether there were problems with the supplies of specific components.

"What we are doing is we're increasing capacity as quickly as we can, and you know there are a number of things that we have to increase in order to do that," Cook told analysts. "But I am fairly confident that we will be able to increase the capacity. It is not a situation where there is something profound that we can't eventually increase."

Apple said it sold 3.3 million iPads in the year's second quarter, 1 million of them in the first 28 days of availability.

Before that, Apple gave hints of other signs of stress on iPad supplies when it pushed back the international launch until the end of May.

Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co., has projected that Apple will sell 12 million iPads this year, with sales in the fourth quarter of 4.9 million units, a 51% increase over 2010's second-quarter number.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

Related:
Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration guide
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon