Online buyers of the iPad 2, which goes on sale internationally on 25 March, could be waiting up to five weeks for delivery of their prized item. Apple has also delayed the launch of the device in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that affected the country.
As many as 500,000 iPad 2 devices were sold in the US over the weekend after going on sale on Friday. This trumps the 300,000 original iPads that were sold last year upon their weekend debut. Analyst firm Piper Jaffray said all the iPad devices were sold in a single day, with stocks completely depleted by Saturday. Some 70pc of iPad 2 buyers were brand new to the iPad, compared with 23pc of iPhone 4 buyers who were new to the iPhone at launch.
While Apple stores across the US are due a fresh consignment of the precious media tablets today, they are expected to sell out, too, and the online delivery time has been almost doubled from two to three weeks to four to five weeks.
International availability of iPad 2
This raises questions as to how many of the devices will be available to international buyers who eagerly await the launch of the device on 25 March. Buyers can no doubt expect long queues outside Apple Stores in big cities like London, Paris and Berlin.
But in markets like Ireland, where there is no official Apple Store but the devices are sold through CompuB, PC World, Currys and HMV, the spectre of a strained supply chain is hardly good news for local Apple fans. Will anyone be lucky enough to get it day one or will a four to five-week waiting time for online buyers dampen their ardour?
Meanwhile, Apple has cancelled the 25 March launch of the device in Japan, which was hit last week with a devastating earthquake and tsunami,and which is also dealing with damage to vital nuclear power plants.
Some 10.1m tablet computers shipped in Q4 – double the number that shipped in Q3, according to IDC. Apple’s iPad share came down from 93pc to 73pc, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab a distant but only competitor with 17pc of the world market.