Zealous consumers can't wait to get their hands on an Apple iPad, raising fears that demand may overwhelm supply. But a potential stock shortage is just one of the obstacles Apple faces in fulfilling its promise to get the iPad in stores by March. Here, 5 reasons why the iPad's arrival may be delayed, perhaps indefinitely:
1. The device is not even registered with the FCC
Eager to pre-order your iPad? Don't bother, writes Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired: The Federal Communications Commission still hasn't approved the device. While "nobody seriously expects" that the iPad won't clear this hurdle, "unanswered questions" about the iPad's "content-oriented applications" could delay approval and, by extension, the pre-order process.
2. Legal battles over the name "iPad" could halt the release
The Japanese firm Fujitsu has sold a handheld computer called the iPad (designed for shop assistants) since 2002, and has trademarked the word in the US. With Fujitsu mulling ways to deal with the "possible infringement" of the name rights, a lengthy trademark battle could delay Apple's release date — unless Steve Jobs drops the much-mocked iPad name and starts again.
3. A Chinese company is crying "plagiarism"
Consumers in Shanghai may have to wait extra long. Chinese firm Shenzhen Great Long Brother Industrial Company claims that Apple ripped-off Shenzhen's P88 device, which it introduced at Berlin's 2009 International Electronics Fair. "It is certainly our design," says Wu Xiaolong, the company's president who was reportedly "flabbergasted" by Apple's announcement. If Apple tries to launch the iPad in China, he adds, "we will sue them this spring."
4. The iPad might blow AT&T's circuits
Apple's decision to partner with wireless provider AT&T for the iPad, as it did for the iPhone, bodes ill, says Matthew Shaer at Christian Science Monitor, considering the "major problems" the telecom giant has had handling iPhone data requests. iPad use may further strain an "already encumbered network" — especially in "high-density metro areas" such as New York and San Francisco.
5. A key software incompatibility could bog things down
The iPad can't display any videos that were created using Flash, Adobe's multimedia software — namely most clips from YouTube, Hulu, and many other sites. Relax, says Nick Bilton in the New York Times: In time, new video formats will replace Flash, a slow, battery-eating technology. Still, if customers rebel, Steve Jobs will be forced into lengthy, potentially disruptive discussions with Adobe, a company he just described as "lazy."