Thanks to an improvement in the availability of components, iSuppli has announced that it is raising the shipment forecast for iPads to 13.8 million units in 2010, up from its July outlook of 12.9 million. Furthermore, the company expects iPad production to hit 2.5 million units a month by the end of the year. The announcement is great news for Apple, which has struggled to keep up with consumer demand for its innovative tablet.
“In its previous iPad forecasts, iSuppli noted that the only constraint on shipment growth now is production—and not demand,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research for iSuppli. “The only factor limiting production is the availability of key iPad components, such as the Field Fringe Switching (FFS) LCD panels, projected capacitive touch screens and NAND flash. Despite ongoing yield issues, Apple’s suppliers have steadily increased monthly production to meet Apple’s demand. Production rates are now on target to meet the expected strong fourth-quarter sales.”
Manufacturing should be boosted once more in 2011, when Apple plans to include new suppliers in the iPad’s production chain. The increased availability of the device will allow Apple to pursue as-yet-untapped markets such as schools and businesses who may be interested in buying the devices in bulk, but can’t yet due to the fact Apple doesn’t offer bulk purchase incentives. With the announcement that AT&T will begin selling iPads direct to businesses it was clear that Apple needed to work fast in order to make sure supply could keep up with demand.
This is also good news for those looking to buy a loved one an iPad as a holiday gift, since now perhaps they’ll be a bit less scarce. Coupling the increased production with the expansion of retailers approved to sell iPads means that perhaps you’ll spend a bit less time tromping through stores and less gas driving from one retailer to the next. Won’t that be nice?