iBook Delay UpdatesShortly after our initial report on iBook delays, Apple began to notify customers that their iBooks had shipped. However, it was only a matter of hours before Apple fell ill to the misfortune of the devastating Taiwan earthquake.
As mentioned in our initial report, the AlphaTop facility which produces Apple's iBooks did not face any structural damage, but did fall victim to the widespread power-outage that was expected to last up to 3 or 4 weeks. During his brief CNBC interview on October 5th, Steve Jobs confirmed our reports that Apple had been totally shut down in Taiwan all week, though he would not enter into the details.
Meanwhile, readers have been questioning why consumers who ordered Blueberry iBooks had begun to receive them before the quake, while those who ordered Tangerine units hadn't. According to sources overseas, AlphaTop was (and still is) awaiting a Tangerine iBook specific part (which apparently is one that is colored Tangerine, since otherwise the two iBooks are identical).
Since this part was not due for sometime, Apple made the executive decision to go forth and use the available component shipments to produce purely Blueberry units until the Tangerine part was received (being that Blueberry iBook orders outnumbered those of Tangerine). And this is about where Apple left off. We should note, however, that a small number of Tangerine units were shipped following the initial production run.
Now following the quake, Apple (as well as everyone else in the area) is restricted in the number of units they can fly off the island at any given time. So ramping production up, if they could, would hardly serve Apple's cause. Additionally, because of the wreckage, it is extremely difficult for component shipments to reach the AlphaTop production facility.
Having said all this, it appears that production will begin at a modest pace sometime in the next few weeks, churning out additional Blueberry iBooks. According to sources, Tangerine units are not expected to ship until late October or early November.
If there was some form of final word, it would be that the quake has definitely hurt Apple and its customers. And now Apple is not expected to fulfill their iBook backorders until at least sometime next month.