Apple announced its highly rumored iPad Mini earlier this week, and the company may already be experiencing supply constraints on select models. Online pre-orders kicked off on Friday, with the white & silver model proving to be the most popular in the U.S.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s smaller tablet went on pre-order sale just after midnight PST Thursday, and the Wi-Fi-only models were slated for a Nov. 2 shipment. It wasn’t long before the product page for the white & silver edition was stamped with a “2 weeks” shipment delay across all capacity variants.
The number of fans flocking to purchase the white & silver iPad Mini was unforeseen by Apple, according to Slash Gear, which reported that the company may have had no initial stock of that color option ready for pre-orders. The 7.9-inch lighter-colored tablet sold out in a matter of minutes, indicating that either demand was unexpectedly high or Apple simply did not stock enough units.
In the United Kingdom, the 16GB Wi-Fi only black & slate version is also listed as shipping in two weeks, but the 32GB and 64GB models are still on track for Nov. 2. The lowest capacity models with the cheaper price appear to be the fastest-selling models.
Prior to Apple’s iPad Mini unveiling, component suppliers were believed to be undergoing hardware shortages. This prompted some industry experts to predict that the tablet’s first month would see demand far exceed supply. One such analyst, Brian White, of Topeka Capital Markets, foresaw supply issues in early October, saying that adhering to Apple’s demands in terms of iPad Mini production has been “no walk in the park for suppliers.”
White’s investor notes from earlier this month appear to align with what we’ve seen from Apple’s iPad Mini launch thus far.
“Despite continued yield challenges, the supply chain feels the much anticipated iPad Mini is on track to reach acceptable volume levels for a launch over the next month,” White wrote. “That said, we believe that supply constraints will initially hold back the full sales potential during the first month or so of the launch.”
The iPad Mini is far from being the only Apple product to face supply constraints following its release. The iPhone 5 was held back for nearly a month after pre-orders rolled out in late September. Two weeks before Apple’s announcement, rumors also indicated that the Retina Display 13-inch MacBook Pro would endure launch delays.
Manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron allegedly saw low yields with the Retina displays needed for the newest MacBook Pro iteration, with some expecting that the laptop would be postponed for up to a month.
Despite quick sellouts, Apple’s iPad sales fell nearly 18 percent quarter-on-quarter, ComputerWorld reported. For its fiscal fourth-quarter ended Sept. 29, Apple reported net income of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share. Analysts had forecast, on average, earnings of $8.91 per share, while Apple had predicted it would earn $7.65.
Apple’s recent product launches are expected to make an impression when it comes to next quarter’s earnings, according to a JP Morgan analyst.
“Our view is that September quarter numbers do not matter,” Mark Moskowitz said. “Apple can miss or beat. It does not matter. In our view, the two important iPhone and iPad launches set the stage for big numbers to be reported in late January 2013 as relates to December quarter results.”