Analyst Expects Limited iPad Availability at Launch

Apple is planning on kicking off iPad sales some time in March, but the company may be facing lower than expected inventory levels if Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek is right. Mr. Misek has apparently heard that a problem at the iPad production plant has throttled back how many units will be available for shipping, according to AllThingsD.

"An unspecified production problem at the iPad's manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision, will likely limit the launch region to the US and the number of units available to roughly 300K in the month of March, far lower than the company's initial estimate of 1,000K units," Mr. Misek said. "The delay in production ramp will likely impact Apple's April unit estimate of 800K as well. It is also possible that, given the limited number of units available in March, the launch will be delayed for a month."

Mr. Misek is basing his projections on information he's heard but hasn't been able to confirm through Apple.

Assuming Mr. Misek's limited availability or launch delay projections prove to be accurate, Apple would most likely sell fewer iPad in 2010 than originally anticipated. Considering the level of interest in the iPad so far, however, those lower sales would more likely be tied to product availability instead of potential customers buying other devices instead.

Mr. Misek is expecting Apple will sell about 550,000 iPads in its third fiscal quarter, 1.2 million iPads for fiscal 2010, and 3.5 million in fiscal 2011. Since his projections are based on unconfirmed data, it's also just as likely Apple will hit its higher iPad sales estimates.

Apple is currently trading at US$208.34, up 3.72 (1.82%).