Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has revealed that the shipping date for new orders of the 3G-enabled iPad in the US will now be May 7, following a move last week to delay the global launch to the end of May because of supply shortages. (See Apple Delays International iPad.)

Users attempting to buy the 3G device from Apple online are now told that the gadget will ship "by May 7th." The company has sent buyers that have already pre-ordered the iPad a note saying that their tablets will still ship in "late April", the All Things Digital blog notes.

Apple said last week that it has already taken "a large number" of pre-orders for the 3G iPad in the US. The company has sold over 50,000 WiFi-only iPads stateside since its launch on April 3rd. (See The iPad Has Landed.)

Apple says that this demand caused the delay of the global launch and it is likely now the reason that new orders in the US will arrive later. "Demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks," the firm said in its statement last week.

A 3G Hog After All?
The launch of the 3G device should be interesting for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and other carriers carrying the device. It is now clear that there is high demand for the 3G-enabled device, which will likely consume data over a network more like a netbook than a smartphone. LR Mobile -- and others -- have questioned what affect this launch might have on cellular networks as more people get the device. (See Will the Apple iPad Crush 3G Networks?)

AT&T promised a $2 billion spend on wireless network upgrades this year, beefing up 3G in major US cities and beyond. The carrier was stung last year as users complained about poor iPhone service in cities like San Francisco and NYC and decided on a program to upgrade backhaul and more in 2010. (See AT&T to Spend $2B More on Wireless in 2010 and AT&T Mobile Boss: NYC & San Fran Are 'Underperforming'.)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said previously that he expects the device to be WiFi-driven. The device had some teething troubles with user's WiFi connections, however, and the demand for the 3G version indicates that many users want a choice between 3G and WiFi for connectivity, at the very least. (See The iPad Has WiFi Teething Troubles.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:39:13 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7


Well, there are lots of common parts that would be used in both units.  Most of the time there is a production forecast to build against (well there is 100% of the time in a firm of any size).  Some of these items - like say the display - might have significant leadtime.  So, what would happen is that a maximum number of units could be built within that leadtime but they can be either WiFi or 3G.  

I would expect that much of the electro-mechanical stuff is custom and has significant leadtimes (8 weeks or 12 weeks).  So, if WiFi sales were hot Apple would have 2 choices:  Limit WiFi sales to a specific level to ensure 3g supply or Allow WiFi to flow and let 3g supply be constrained.


PS - By elctro-mechanical stuff - things like the case come to mind.



joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:39:13 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Looks like they chose the WiFi route then. 

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:39:13 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

I wonder how many 3G iPads were made compared to the WiFi-only model? It seems a little odd that demand for the WiFi model could affect 3G supply. Maybe the 3G model is a WiFi model with an extra RF module installed? That would explain it.

Also interesting that even in these economic times people have $629 to $829 ready to spend on Apple over the netbook (or two) they could buy instead.


Honestly 12/5/2012 | 4:39:04 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Actually, lets be honest.  With iPad 3g coming and the next gen iPhone around the corner, the At&t user again will be the loser.  You think data and call drops were bad last year, just wait.  As LR pointed out earlier this year, At&t also has a network signaling problem.  Add bandwidth crunch to this and a $2BB upgrade will be a real joke.


AAPL, give us Verizon and Sprint because I don't need an iPad that bad. 

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:39:03 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Indeed, signaling is a big deal here.

As I understand it, as many more devices start and stop network connections to save battery power, the signaling network becomes overloaded and drops calls, connections, etc., even when there is network capacity to spare. 

Weird that AT&T itself doesn't talk about this issue. They obsess over coverage and radio stuff, but won't give us good data on how their signaling network is holding up and what they're doing to improve it.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:39:02 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Will do. As noted, we do need to do more work/reportage on signaling. And we will. Thanks for the encouragement.

Honestly 12/5/2012 | 4:39:02 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Phil, sounds like you are very accurate and they have no intention of exposing a weakness that could either take a long time to fix, or cannot be fixed within the current network architecture.  It would be great If we all knew how long a fix will take and what happens when iPad 3G comes on line and does require a lot more bandwidth.  In AAPL's earnings call they were very upbeat about 3Gand iPad Wifi orders. 


Please stay on this for us.


DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:38:58 PM
re: Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

NSN and AlcaLu both have solutions that will help the signaling problem at AT&T. But they also caution that the iPhone Effect is something of a multi-headed beast. Have a look at Craig's story from this morning for the details:


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