Apple Inc.’s shipments of a new version of its iPad tablet computer may be delayed to June from April because of “production bottlenecks” at manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Yuanta Securities Co. said.
The delay arose after Cupertino, California-based Apple made design changes before the Lunar New Year, according to a report by Vincent Chen and Alison Chen, analysts at Yuanta. Jill Tan, an Apple spokeswoman in Hong Kong, declined to comment on the report. Edmund Ding, a spokesman for Hon Hai, didn’t answer calls to his Taiwan and China mobile phones.
“Our checks suggest new issues are being encountered with the new production and it is taking time to resolve them,” said Chen in the report. “As a number of Android 3.0 tablets are being launched in April and May, the delay in iPad 2 shipments may give the Android camp a brief window of opportunity.”
Hon Hai, the Taipei-based contract manufacturer for Apple, dropped 2.2 percent to NT$111.50 at the close of Taipei trading, the lowest level since Dec. 2.
A two-month delay in introducing the iPad could lower the tablet computer’s shipments to 23 million units this year, as compared with the brokerage’s current forecast of 30.6 million, according to the report.
The iPad, introduced in April, accounted for 17 percent of sales last quarter. The company has sold more than 15 million iPads so far, Vice President Eddy Cue said on Feb 2. The iPhone is Apple’s top-selling product, accounting for 39 percent of revenue last fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Apple started producing an updated version of the iPad, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The new version is thinner, lighter, has more memory and uses faster chips than its predecessor, the newspaper said. It also has a front-facing camera that would enable videoconferencing, the Journal said.
Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are also offering tablets to compete with Apple. Global shipments of tablet devices will more than double this year, led by Apple and Google Inc.’s Android-based models, according to researcher IDC Corp.
The iPad faces intensifying competition from Android tablets made by Samsung, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Acer Inc. The Apple product accounted for 75 percent of global tablet shipments last quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Android tablets captured 22 percent of the market.