Paralleling the current stock shortages of the MacBook Pro, retail stocks of the first generation iPad are dwindling at third party sellers potentially indicating that Apple has reduced production volumes in advance of the iPad 2 release. 9to5Mac reports that the stock shortages are most prevalent in in Europe and that, in addition to the stock shortages, some network providers such as Orange and T-Mobile UK have cut their subsidized prices for iPads in half.
As with most Apple products, shortages of stock in third party sellers tend to show themselves whenever a product is nearing its refresh date. In the case of the iPad, the hotly anticipated iPad 2 is expected to be announced some time in March. While Apple Stores are still not showing any stock shortages or shipping delays, it is still possible that the second generation device is about to be released.
As with the MacBook Pro, many of the recent rumors regarding the iPad 2 have suggested that Apple may choose to implement the USB killer, Light Peak, in its 2011 line up of products. Given that very little information on Light Peak has been forthcoming from either Apple or Intel, it is still unclear what developmental stage Light Peak is actually at. Given that Apple tests new technologies for years in advance of release, Light Peak may actually make an appearance in 2011 but it is our opinion that this will most likely be in the 2011 iMac rather than the iPad 2.
However, with Apple, you never know what they are going to come up with. While FaceTime capability and upgraded performance are almost a certainty at this point, more experimental technologies, such as Light Peak, may not see implementation until the third generation of the device.