Apple has caught up with fourth-gen iPad demand

It appears Apple’s supply of fourth-generation iPads has caught up with demand. After listing the new full-size tablet with a one-week waiting period, then 3-5 days, the iPad now is listed “in stock” at Apple’s online stores. Perhaps this is because 90 percent of the iPads the Cupertino, California company sold over the past weekend were iPad mini units. Monday, analysts released reports on initial sales of the smaller iPad. A common thread: worries that Apple cannot meet consumer demand, a particularly unwanted situation given the fast-approaching all-important holiday buying period…

Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook in announcing his firm sold a record three million iPads over the weekend, said the company “practically sold out of iPad minis”.

As we reported, a number of Wall Street observers believe most of these units were iPad minis. Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um told investors Monday that he expects half of all iPads sold in the December quarter to be the smaller version.

“We see demand continuing to outstrip supply”, wrote Um.

The lopsided sales in favor of the 7.9-inch iPad mini isn’t a complete surprise. In October, analysts were forecasting the mini would cannibalize up to 20 percent of sales for the regular-size Apple tablet.

We believe that the smaller iPad could cannibalize one million regular iPad units in December,” Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster wrote back in October.

While sales of iPad minis instead of regular iPads still results in Apple profits, the overriding question is what happens when consumers seeking the smaller iPad can only find the larger iPad on store shelves.

Will they go ahead and purchase the only available iPad, or will they grab a Samsung Note or an Amazon Kindle Fire to satisfy their desire for a smaller tablet?

That is the question of real concern for Apple.

Do you think Apple can increase supplies of iPad minis to meet demand for a seven-inch tablet in time?