back to article iPads in short supply as tablets take off

IDC reckons 7.6 million tablets will be sold during 2010, rising to 46 million come 2014, which explains why the Apple stores seem to be bereft of iPads these days. That's devices in the tablet form factor: no keyboard and no Windows OS and a stylus-or-finger-driven interface, which could include Apple's iPad and its imitators …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    that surely means

    iCretins are NOT in short supply.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Cretins in short supply?

      Nah, there's always plenty around to throw the first post.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Availalbe now in a grey market near you

    Not in Apple stores but....

    There were plenty (20+ I think) in Kuala Lumpa Airport at a 20% mark up. Whilst they are still a sale to Apple, how many have gone elsewhere to hit the grey market and are now sat on someone elses shelf rather than a users lap?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let them eat cake...

    ...less competition around to buy the Adam when it comes out so i stand a reasonable chance of getting my hands on one of them beauties sporting tne new nVidea power performance chipsets. Luverley.!!!

  4. Tom Cooke

    Not a dead donkey

    We can argue about the niceties of 'sold' versus 'shipped' (FYI most 'consigned stock' supplier agreements treat stock shipped to retail stores as 'sold', this is standard business practice). But certainly the iPad is not in the position reported by, ahem, one of our competitors, who a few years ago bought into a large quantity of a product variant tipped as 'the latest thing in fashion branding'. The comment their purchasing director made after a few days' of minimal sales was "We have enough of these things to pave a road." How we larfed!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Wait for it...

    ...cue the mac-haters, and a serious case of sour grapes.

    Oh wait...they couldn't get in any quicker - they got right in there with the first post. Kudos.

    And no, I'm strictly a fence sitter - it's just a device FFS - leave them alone for buying one (and secretly, a fair percent of the haters are probably jealous); and conversely it's not like someone's taken a shit in your koolaid cornflakes to suggesting it's less than perfect. I mean, really. Everyone just chill out.

    Probably means I'll get down-voted by both camps now. One for daring to suggest it's just a device, and the other for not suggesting enough shit in the Koolaid cornflakes.

    Can't we all just get along...think of the children... etc etc

    1. John Lilburne

      cue the mac-haters,

      There would be far fewer iPads and iPhones if Apple didn't rely on a manufacturing supplier (who's employers have a habit of killing themselves) that runs their operation on pirated CAD/CAM software.

      1. sleepy

        I presume you mean Hon Hai

        Although their recently reported employee suicide rate is well below China's averages, so it doesn't mean much. They assemble iPhones and iPads.

        Run by me again how to run an assembly operation on CAD/CAM software.

        If you actually have evidence, I suspect Apple would apply some pressure if you gave them details.

        Note that your post actually recommends Apple to ONLY use suppliers with pirate software: you say the others don't fulfil orders.

        1. John Lilburne

          Not talking about the assembly plants

          but the plants that are manufacturing mould and dies for the components. Look at the banks of machine tools running CAD/CAM software and ask how many actual licenses they have.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Do you know how many they have got, John?

            Do you think Apple are the *only* business doing this, John?

            1. John Lilburne

              Hardly matters

              They are one of the ones that are. Makes their defence of their own IP rather hypocritical.

              1. Anonymous Coward

                You didn't answer the question, John.

                You said; "Look at the banks of machine tools running CAD/CAM software and ask how many actual licenses they have." Well? How many are licensed and how many are not? You seem to have an idea of the figures so you'd best report it then. Or are you speculating that this is the fact and just trying to have a dig at a company based on your own prejudice?

  6. Bruce 7

    Demo iPads

    All the Apple Stores I went into actually had special demo models of ipads with 'not for sale, demo only' or some such verbiage inscribed on the back. I presume Apple are make an effort to make it less rewarding for people to steal the things.

    Regardless, there's no cross-over at all between for-sale stock and demo models. Your store's issued 6 or 8 demo ipads can't be sold.

    On the subect of the Apple tablet, the laptop-with-a-touch-screen has been on sale (And failing to sell meaningful amounts) for well over 15 years. It's cheering that Apple has finally figured a middle ground of price and utility that will drive sensible tablet like devices in the future. If you don't like Apple, buy one of the other things that will appear in the niche Apple just created in the next 2 quarters.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shops hold onto demo units

    I don't see a contradiction if an Apple store says it has no iPads in stock but has a dozen or more on display as demo units. I think most people want to try the thing for themselves before committing to a purchase and would expect to be able to try one out even if they can't actually buy one yet. The store has to hold onto demo iPads at the moment (that will change as time passes).

    Engineering a perception of shortages (through popularity) is something a business might try either about the time a product is launched or if it has messed up production. It's possible the latter is true, but otherwise there is no way a store is going to tell a potential customer to go away when they have product to sell.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Underestimating demand is better than overestimating it

    Companies that build too much product such that supply outstrips demand don't commit that same mistake many times again.

    This is by design, and it's pragmatic. It's just good business behaviour.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is good

    Okay, I'm an Apple whore and so this is obviously good news to me, even though I probably won't be selling my other kidney to get one (I sold my first kidney for a MacBook Pro...). Before the iPad's launch I actually wondered whether it would take off or not, going on the poor history of tablets that went before it. I'm actually really surprised that it is doing so well. And, far from decrying the 'me too' efforts by other manufacturers (e.g. HP) I think it's good that this very niche market is beginning to expand. I think some very cool stuff could come to market in this arena within the next few years.

    But I can't help feeling just a little smug at it being another poke in the eye for the naysayers who were convinced it would fail. Like it or not, Apple do have a knack of injecting life into a market sector and generating interest across the other manufacturers to give us all lots of lovely new shiny toys. The iPad's success is a good thing, as is the iPhone's. It encourages innovation and competition that will ultimately benefit the consumer.

    (I'm just pissed off I didn't buy Apple stock in the 90s...)

  10. sleepy

    Apple's business model completely different to most. The shortages are real, and global. End users are still getting their orders shipped direct from the factory. When equilibrium is reached, there will probably be about 6 weeks inventory in the channel. But how fast can new manufacturing machinery and production lines for the IPS touch screens be built? I think there may be shortages until the autumn.

  11. Harvid

    Apple does it again

    This is good for all concerned. Even the Apple haters, as this will spark interest in alternatives that may turn out to be superior, like the ADAM. However, without the tablet being brought front and center by Apple, the ADAM could flop by obscurity (yes, bought by geeks, but that likely wouldn't sustain the company).

    Now I am an Apple fan, and own an iPad, but I am open to alternatives should something superior come along (i am very interested in the ADAM, and when my wife comes to getting a tablet, she might just inherit my iPad!). I think what everyone has to admit is that this market was pretty much stagnant until this year. Hopefully we'll all benefit from renewed interest in this segment....

  12. Ted

    Apple can't keep up with demand...

    The problem is the glass touch screen, it's difficult to make them at such precision. So couple that with iPads being priced too cheaply and you run out of them... A good example is I reserved a 3G 32GB on May 6th, then just yesterday (May 23rd) did my iPad come in... so it's a serious issue since demand is so strong... It's going to be like this all year, Apple is trying to catch up, but the iPad is just too well made, too fast, and well... wonderful.

    As a side note: no wonder Apple is about to surpass Microsoft to become the 2nd most valuable company in America... it should happen sometime this week...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Historically, Apple has only counted product sold not product shipped, so it is highly likely that the numbers are very real and not marketing spiel.

  14. Steve W 1

    Can't have it both ways!

    It's hard for Apple to get it's suppliers to increase production at the same time that it is telling them to fire all the underage workers, cut back on excessive overtime, not deal with environmental bad guys, clean up their reporting procedures, etc.

    Twenty years ago, Apple had the opposite problem. Too much production created excess inventory, that became obsolete while still in the warehouse - due to the speed at which new components were being research and developed by suppliers and competitors [cough]Intel[/cough]. Apple was trashing obscene amounts of inventory - so much so it was losing money, not making money.

    A responsible employer doesn't gear up for a spike in demand, because that only leads to layoffs later. A diversified manufacturer can re-allocate resources between product lines, but Apple only has a few products - unlike companies like HP and Dell.

  15. John 104

    Abstract should have read:

    Empty shelves vindicate Microsofts vision. Seriously, this is just Apples take on a very old idea...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Call it what you want...

      The fact remains that Apple so far have succeeded where Microsoft and their myriad partners have so far failed. Actually, Elisha Gray first patented the idea in 1888 and the Godfather of the GUI hinted at the notion in an essay he wrote in 1945. Blinkered fanboism is no match for actual facts...

    2. Goat Jam

      I LOL'ed

      Microsoft have been pushing their "vision" for 15 years and where has it got them?

      On the fast track to Fail Town is where.

      Are you seriously suggesting that Microsoft can take credit for apple succeeding where MS has done nothing but FAIL?

      Oh dear, now that's a good'un

  16. Watashi

    Keep the iPads flying

    The main function of the iPad is for its owners to be able to demonstrate their financial superiority off to those less fortunate than themselves. How many iPad owners do you think there are who keep it a secret, who don't boast about how cutting-edge their latest gadget is (even though it isn't) and how much better it makes their life (even though it doesn't)?

    That warm feeling owners get when they discuss what their iPad can do doesn't come from the sudden extra freedom or productivity or creativity the device gives them. It comes from smugness and self-satisfaction. You know that episode of South Park when the Prius owning middle-class families spend their time sniffing their own farts? That is what an iPad owner is doing when he uses his iPad - smelling his own gas and loving it. And I bet quite a few of them listen to Oasis, support Man City and wear Che Guevara t-shirts. F*cking hypocrites.

    As Che said: I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation.

    The iPad is the poster-boy for consumer-driven social alienation. THAT is why so many people hate Apple's latest spawning.

    1. mrweekender


      The missus wants a cheap no nonsense thingy to do her typed uni work on. She wants it to start up instantly, be able to play some games and buy stuff with it securely. She wants it simple and easy.

      So all you Microsoft shills tell me what choices I've got. I suppose we could buy an unintuitive over powered operating system on an underpowered poorly made netbook.

      All you Linux fanbois tell me what choices I've got. I suppose we could choose an over complicated operating system (that requires oodles of fucking command line crap just to load drivers to even see the desktop in the correct resolution) on an underpowered poorly made netbook.

      Smugness - er no practicality. I know it's hard to imagine for some people but the world is not full of nerds who want to piss about with operating systems all day, to see if they can get their fans to run their system 1 degree cooler or own who want a word processor that does just about everything but suck you off.

      iPad please - I'd like to get on with my life..

      1. Goat Jam


        On an iPad? I was with you up to there. The iPad is great for the *consumption* of media but is ill suited to *creation*.

        You are doing your wife a great disservice if you are recommending the iPad for that particular usage.

        Oh, and BTW, Linux does not require "oodles of fucking command line crap" anymore. You need to step out of the 20th century and get with the program.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Your world view is so utterly and overly simplistic, I'm surprised you are even seeing any colours in it except black and not-black. Putting yourself in one group just so you can demonise everyone not in that group is beyond juvenile. Essentially, you live in a world where you think it's okay to run around pointing at everything saying, "not me, I'm better, not me I'm better." FO.

      You label everything and have no idea that the world isn't that way, but you don't care, you've run in a room, thrown a burning bag of shit and ran out, leaving no room to discuss or understand.

      I'm one of those people that is slightly embarassed when I buy new kit until it's become more common because I'm not a show-off. I simply like gadgets, I like Apple gadgets and I'm usually one of the people at the front of the queue buying them when they're released, because (here's the important bit) I find them useful, and I enjoy using them in their usefulness. I don't buy them because they make me feel better than you, though you feel you are better than me when you label me that way. FO.

      You say so many people hate the iPad. My response is, "don't fucking buy one then." Stop running around taking people's joy from them, because it just makes you appear to be pure evil (taking joy from others and feeling good about yourself for it).

      Epic fail you and your twat attitude.

  17. Carniphage

    Remember Mary Whitehouse?

    The members of her Viewers and Listeners association could confidently condemn films without ever having watched them.

    It seems there is a gadget equivalent. People who can assert the uselessness of a device without ever trying it.


  18. zenp
    Thumb Up

    ...there can be only one. Button....

    ...well, i'm buying one for my 94 year old father on Friday. His failing eyesight requires an e.reader so's he can continue reading. But any more than a single button anywhere on the machine, and confusion reigns. Helps if the machine has some degree of telepathy, or at least empathy. If there's anything else on the market that even comes close, i'd be very surprised.

    I'm not an Apple fanboi, though i don't hate them (anymore, long story), but if your iProduct does what it says on the tin, Mr Steve Jobs, you'll get a great big big hug from me...

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