New York - Apple suffered a shortfall in iPad 2 shipments during the first quarter, but the company is expected to quickly ramp up production, according to IHS iSuppli.
IHS iSuppli has lowered its iPad shipment forecast by 9.1 percent down to 39.7 million for 2011. This is down from the 42.7 million units the research firm had predicted would ship in February.
IHS expects total iPad shipments to rise 163 percent in 2011 compared to 2010 when about 15.1 million units shipped.
IHS said the drop off was not due to component issues stemming from the March 11 Japanese earthquake and ensuing disasters. Instead the company pointed to manufacturing problems that include quality issues with the LCD touchscreens, production shortages of its speaker, lamination problems and general end-unit production problems.
IHS analysts praised Apple's quick response to the earthquake saying Apple quickly found new component sources, particularly of touchscreens. To the point where other tablet manufactures may have trouble obtaining the screens for their products.
All of these moves will lead to Apple retaining its market share lead. Giving a huge boost to the iPad is its continued dominance in the app marketplace.
"Content represents Apple's most significant competitive advantage in the tablet market," said Alexander, director of monitor research at IHS. "Application development is accelerating for the Android market but still lags far behind Apple. Furthermore, the kind of seamless access to movies, music and other content that Apple can provide is still not in place for the competition."
The research firm also cited better pricing and somewhat poor reviews of non-Apple tablets as other reasons Apple will retain its No. 1 position.
However, as more competitors starts shipping product Apple can expect to see some erosion in share.
IHS predicts Apple's competitors will start outproducing the iPad in 2013.