By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 18, 2010

Shipping delays have quietly shrunk from 5-to-7 business days to 3-to-5 days

[UPDATE: As of Monday, Aug. 23, iPads were shipping within 1-to-3 business days.]

The iPad shortages that delayed the launch of the iPad 3G and pushed back the international roll-out by a month have finally started to ease.

In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Susquehanna Financial’s Jeff Fidacaro notes that iPad shipping delays, which listed as 7-to-10 business days from early May to mid August, shrank this week to 3-to-5 days.

“iPad demand remains strong with production ramping above expectations,” writes Fidacaro. He has revised his iPad build forecast for Apple’s (AAPL) fourth fiscal quarter to 7 million units, up from 6 million units. And his 4Q iPad shipment estimate now stands at 4.75 million units, a 45% increase from Q3.

“We believe there is upside potential to our 4QFY10 estimate and CY10 target of 13.4 mln iPads,” he writes, “given the strong demand and anticipated production ramp heading into the back-to- school and holiday seasons, as well as the high level of interest from business customers as expressed by AT&T.”

Separately, Barclays’ Ben Reitzes reported Wednesday that there has been “strong improvement” in iPad availability at Best Buy (BBY) stores over the past two weeks. See chart below.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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