What happens when you are Apple and sell nearly 5 million iPads in one quarter? Analysts consider it a “hiccup” and begin downgrading their forecasts for future iPad sales, according to a report by Reuters.

Apple, which recently released its second quarter earnings report, sold just under 5 million iPad units during the period January 1-March 31. However, earlier estimates stated the Cupertino, California-based company would sell nearly 6 million units. Because of this, IHS iSuppli now estimates Apple will ship 39.7 million units for all models of the iPad in 2011, down from its original forecast of 43.7 million units.

According to Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at HIS:

“While Apple is now on track to significantly increase its production volume in the second quarter, the company reportedly is still falling substantially short of its target production goal for April.”

Meanwhile, other analysts are also downgrading their iPad 2 forecasts. For example, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch numbers have dropped to 26.4 million from 26.8 million, while JPMorgan now estimates Apple will sell 27.3 million units in 2011. This is a drop from 28.9 million units it had earlier forecasted.

These numbers have less to do with slowing demand for Apple products, than the current situation in Japan. Since the March 11 earthquake, concerns have grown that Apple won’t be able to meet demand because of supply shortages. Apple relies on Japan for its iDevice touchscreens and internal parts.

Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ likely successor at Apple, however, is not a concern for investors.

According to Alex Gauna, an analyst with JMP Securities:

“Is (Apple) a grown-up company? Yes. Is it a well managed company? Absolutely. Does it have talent internally beyond Steve Jobs? It sure does.”

Barry Jaruzelski, a partner with Booz and Co, concurs stating:

“The fact that they keep performing quarter in, quarter out, is a testament to the bench strength of management talent.”

Cook, who is Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, is the company’s acting CEO. He replaced Jobs, who is on his third medical leave since 2004. Cook is largely expected to replace Jobs on a permanent basis at some point.

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