Apple is still hustling to tie up loose ends in preparation for the iPad's April 3 arrival.
To start, there's still viewable content to secure. While The Associated Press and publishing giant Conde Nast will each be offering content for the iPad, Apple is reportedly still negotiating to sign additional media companies on board, according to a March 19 report from the Wall Street Journal.
This may in part be due to technology issues, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs has made it known that he has no patience for using Adobe's Flash for videos or slide shows. "We don't spend a lot of energy on old technology," Jobs, back in February, reportedly told the Journal, which does use Flash on its site.
The last-minute hustling may also come down to money, with the Journal reporting, according to "people familiar with the matter," that Apple is still trying to get certain media companies to cut prices for television shows that iPad users could access.
"Apple also hoped to work closely with newspaper, magazines and textbook publishers on new ways to digitally present print content on the iPad," the Journal reported, citing the Apple insiders, "but has for now put the effort on the backburner."
Still another hitch in the works, Cnet reported March 16, is an issue with availability of the iPad's accessories. Reportedly, while the iPad dock and dock connector to VGA adapter are on schedule to ship April 3 with the iPad, the iPad case will ship mid-April, while the iPad keyboard dock won't arrive until May.
Will these snafus and last-minute adjustments slow sales? That's anyone's guess - literally. YouWager.com is taking bets on whether Apple can sell 1 million iPads in 74 days - the time it took the company to sell its first 1 million iPhones.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Irish betting firm Paddy Power has 3-to-1 odds that Apple will sell more than 6 million iPads before the first day of 2011. For the pessimists, 8-to-1 odds say that Apple sells fewer than a million units - though it's a bet that analysts might warn against.
"We believe the general consensus ... view of [the iPad] and its potential is over overly pessimistic," Brian Marshall, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, wrote in a March 9 research note to investors.
Aaron Vronko, CEO of Rapid Repair, has performed teardowns of popular devices and so is acquainted with their innermost bits. While Apple allegedly believes it will sell 10 million units in the first year, Vronko put the number considerably lower, telling eWEEK, before the iPad's introduction that "unless it's going to replace the iPhone, I think 1 million to 5 million in the first year is more likely."
Should Apple gets its act together, and iPad sales start off without a hitch, there's still one more, albeit small, wrench that could potentially jam up the works - Hewlett-Packard's Slate, which will reportedly debut in June and go on sale in Europe.
According to ZDnet.com, the Slate would include an Intel Atom CPU, a Webcam - which the iPad surprised many by doing without - a $545 price tag and, oh yes, support for Adobe Flash.