Apple is notifying some of its customers this week that it will be unable to meet quoted delivery times for its new 16GB iPod nanos, fueling rumors that the company was forced to make a last minute change to the product line, possibly at the hands of rival Microsoft.
In an email to customers Thursday, the Cupertino-based company informed online shoppers in the UK that delivery of 16GB iPod nanos originally slated to arrive between September 17th and 22nd won’t ship until the 25th. They’re now scheduled to land on customers’ doorsteps “on or before” September 29th.
“Please note that these dates are estimated lead-times only. Once your order has dispatched, you will receive a Dispatch Notification email, which will provide you with detailed delivery information,” Apple wrote. “Your business is very important to us, and we apologise for any inconvenience that this change may cause.”
In the same email, Apple contends that demand for the new iPod nano “has been higher than anticipated” and that it’s shipping units “as quickly as possible, but cannot meet the dispatch” dates originally quoted.
That said, there’s been an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that 16GB models remain unavailable simply because Apple’s original plans for the fourth-generation iPod nano leading up to last Tuesday’s event called for only 4GB and 8GB configurations.
As such, it’s likely manufacturing ramp of the 16GB models didn’t begin until just recently because Foxconn, Apple’s iPod manufacturing partner in the East, was busy pumping out 4GB and 8GB models instead. Though unannounced last Tuesday, those 4GB models mysteriously began cropping up at European retailers earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the German blog Cyberbloc quite confidently claimed that that it was told the 4GB models were the result of a production fault that stemmed from Apple’s initial intention of marketing only 4GB and 8GB models.
The official response from Apple was on the matter was that it decided to produce a “limited number of 4GB iPod nanos for some international markets.” The statement suggests the 4GB models were the afterthought as opposed to the 16GB model, but doesn’t explain a motive, why availability of the 4GB models will soon cease, or why they’re priced relatively close to the 8GB model.