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More doubt tossed onto iPad numbers

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A second report has surfaced claiming Apple is experiencing spotty overseas production of the iPad, due for release later this month.

ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh issued a note to investors on Thursday claiming checks with manufacturers suggested "some minor delays" in ramping up production for the tablet.

Apparently, a light flow of only 200,000 to 250,000 iPads per month is all that's possible at present, and production may not hit 800,000 to a million units per month until at least April.

"We believe this is just a minor hiccup in a longer-term entirely new revenue stream and product road map for [Apple]," he wrote.

Those unit estimates mirror a report earlier this week from Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek, who claimed that "unspecified production problems" will limit initial availability to about 300,000 units. He said Apple is poised to limit the initial iPad debut to only the US or even delay the launch until April.

The dual reports contradict a story yesterday by the Taiwan-based DigiTimes that denied the iPad will be arriving late. Foxconn Electronics (the trade name for Hon Hai Precision) told the publication that its component suppliers have reported their supplies are on schedule and should be able to ship between 600,000 and 700,000 iPads this month.

Apple is believed to have plans to begin selling the Wi-Fi-only version of the gadget beginning March 26. ®

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