Apple will allow up to 2 lines of free engraved text on the back of an iPad purchased from Apple.com as an "Apple Online Store exclusive," confirming a July rumor that Apple would extend its free laser-engraving option from the iPod to the iPad this fall. Custom engraved iPods have been available from the Apple online store for several years.
Customers are given the option to engrave their iPad after selecting an iPad model and any desired accessories from the online store. Engraved iPads are non-returnable, so prospective buyers are cautioned to double-check their spelling.
Also, customers should take note that adding the engraving option currently lengthens the shipping time from "Within 24hrs" to "1-3 business days."
The iPad is widely expected to be a "must have" gift this holiday season, with some analysts worrying that Apple may not be able supply enough tablets to meet demand. Apple has struggled to keep the device in stock since it was released in April. Though production of the tablet device seems to have caught up to orders, with shipping times of "Within 24hrs" for all six models of the tablet device, holiday demand could easily outpace supply. Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner predicts Apple will sell as many as 6.5 million iPads from October to December.
In preparation for the holiday season, Apple has greatly broadened the retail availability of the iPad. The device will be available at Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores.
With over 7 million units sold in just two quarters of availability, the iPad has already become a major part of Apple's revenue, accounting for $2.8 billion in revenue during the September quarter.
In fact, the iPad could do so well as to eat into sales of other devices. To Apple CEO Steve Jobs, iPad cannibalization of notebook computers is an inevitability. "The iPad is clearly going to affect notebook computers," Jobs said during the company's fourth fiscal quarter 2010 earnings call. "I think the iPad proves it's not a question of if, it's a question of when."