Supplies Are Tight; Are These The Final Weeks Of The First Generation iPad?

In an interesting observation today, 9to5Mac has reported that supplies of the first generation iPad are drying up at third party resellers as we move closer to the expected launch of the iPad 2 on Wednesday. The report is suggesting that retailers all over the globe are finding it hard to get their hands on stocks of the original iPad and that there is no word on when new supplies will arrive. The key question is therefore, has Apple discontinued the first generation iPad?

While it is well known that stock supplies of an Apple product drying up at third party resellers are a relatively good indication that the product in question will be getting updated, the iPad is in a relatively unique position.  This is the first completely new device that Apple has launched in a while and it is unclear what their plans are for long term supplies.

For instance, when the MacBook Pro was recently updated, Apple will have completely discontinued all production of its predecessor in favor of the new model.  However, when the latest generation iPhone 4 was released, Apple simply dropped the price of the iPhone 3GS and continued to offer it for purchase as a cheaper alternative to the iPhone 4.  Even now, almost two years after launch, it is still available.

So, where does the first generation iPad fit in?  The iPad 2 is expected to be an upgraded version of the first generation model with a faster processor, slimmer and lighter construction and of course some extra features such as dual cameras for FaceTime.  Does this new model then render the original iPad obsolete?  Are the stock shortages that we are seeing reflecting Apple’s attitude towards the first mainstream tablet device that changed the world upon launch?

The first generation iPad is still a million times better than any of its competitors.  Even if Apple release the iPad 2, it would be weird for Apple to discontinue the first generation iPad in favor of the new model.  It is obviously still selling incredibly well and the reason that we are seeing stock shortages is likely because manufacturing lines have been working at capacity in order that the iPad 2 can be sold relatively quickly after its announcement.

Following the announcement of the iPad 2 on Wednesday, don’t be at all surprised if the first generation iPad is dropped in price, perhaps by 10-20%, but, like the iPhone 3GS, is still offered as a cheaper option for those wanting to purchase an iPad.  We’ve said it before, but the iPad 2 could simply be viewed as a “Pro” version of the iPad 1, and we may not even see the true ‘iPad 2′ until 2012.

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  • cv

    You don’t turn off the spigot, then turn it back on. You are quashing sales, leaving money on the table. If Apple turned off iPad 1 sales for two weeks, then resumed, they probably lost sales of 1 million units which probably results in a revenue loss of half a billion dollars.

    Shareholders don’t like that sort of behavior.

    Apple is not that stupid.

  • cv

    Apple will discontinue the original iPad because it doesn’t have a forward-facing camera for FaceTime.

    If they were going to continue the iPad 1 alongside the new model, they wouldn’t let channel availability dry up then re-release at a lower price. They would just keep shipping and then suddenly cut the price.