Apple's New iPad: Demand 'Off The Charts' (Update 2)

Updated from 12:05 p.m. EST to provide analyst comments in the sixth paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - The demand for Apple's ( AAPL) new iPad is so strong, the company called it "off the charts."

In a statement to USA Today, Apple said, "Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased. Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date."

Apple has pushed back the shipping date on its Web site for the latest iPad. It will now be available in 2-3 weeks. When the iPad was first announced, Apple said it was available to ship on March 16. On Friday, it was pushed back to March 19, and now consumers will have to wait three weeks before they can order it online due to demand.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple could sell more than 1 million iPads on Friday, based off the information from Apple's website and the comments it has made.

"We expect Apple to sell more than 1m iPads on 3/16, the day the new iPad hits retail stores. Apple has sold out of inventory set aside for pre-order sales and lead-times have extended to 2-3 weeks on a global basis. Looking at previous Apple product launches, the data suggests Apple will sell more than 1 million iPads on 3/16," Munster wrote in his research report. He rates Apple overweight with a $670 price target.

Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes wrote in his research note that due to demand and limited supplies, he wouldn't be surprised if Apple delayed some of its international rollout. "Given the earlier than expected ship date and the very strong initial demand for the product, we continue to believe our estimate calling for 8.5 million iPads shipped in C1Q to be quite conservative (in the millions) - however, availability of supply could be a limiting factor given the difficulty of making the displays," Reitzes wrote. He also notes that a million iPads "would add about $0.20 to annualized EPS for Apple." He rates Apple "overweight" with a $710 price target.

Amidst all the brouhaha surrounding the iPad launch, there has also been speculation that companies such as Qualcomm ( QCOM), TriQuint Semiconductor ( TQNT) and Corning ( GLW) may benefit from strong sales of the tablet as they have been suppliers to Apple products in the past.

Demand for the new iPad is clearly strong. Over 75% of respondents to a recent poll said they already pre-ordered the new iPad or would eventually purchase it.

Of the 2,094 people who voted in the poll, 730, or 34.86% of respondents, said they had pre-ordered it already, reflecting strong demand for the product. More than 40% (40.87%) of those who voted, or 856 people, said they would "buy it eventually," but would not buy it right away.

Apple's retail stores will still have the device come Friday, but if the past is any indication, the lines will be exceptionally long, and quantities will be limited.

Apple could not be immediately reached for additional comment for this story.

Apple shares are higher in Monday trading, up 1.07% to $551.02.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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