The Apple (s aapl) iPad recently became available to ship within 24 hours for the first time since it began production in April of this year. It looks like that might be due to a significant ramp up in production on the part of Apple’s manufacturing partners, not a dwindling of interest.
According to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, the number of iPads being built every month recently went from 1 million to 2 million units per month. Not only that, but Apple has reportedly indicated to its suppliers that it would like to see that number increase further still, to 3 million per month. That additional million is targeted for Q4 2010, and is probably planned in anticipation of strong holiday sales.
Early sales for the iPad have exceeded everyone’s estimates, including Apple’s own. Tim Cook said in July during the company’s Q3 conference call that increasing production capability to deal with the atypically strong early adopted numbers was a top priority for Cupertino.
Clearly Apple is also bullish about its chances against emerging competitors, like the recently introduced Samsung Galaxy Tab, which recent rumors suggest may even exceed the iPad in terms of price. If true, its not a promising sign for the Android (s goog) crop, admittedly.
The numbers are good news for another group besides Apple itself: iOS developers. More devices on the market means more potential App Store customers. It also means we’ll hopefully see some of the fence-sitters who’ve yet to release true iPad or universal versions of their popular apps (looking at you, Facebook) finally do so.
Apple may also be gearing up for the release of the iPad in other markets where it isn’t yet available, including the lucrative mainland Chinese one. This is the most likely scenario, since it’s hard to believe the holidays alone would account for a threefold increase in demand for a product that’s been on the market for half a year.
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