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iPad 2 still sold out at retail - but online, delivery time falls

Main pain for retailers, more gain for online sales.

Tue, 05 Apr 2011

UPDATED TUESDAY APRIL 5: As its March 25 "launch" recedes into memory, iPad 2 remains sold out at retailers.

As before, stores canvassed by NBR have no idea when new stock will arrrive.

In the meantime, their only function remains publicising the new tablet, which at this point - still - can only be bought directly from Apple's website.

Online orders speed up
Incidentally, for those ordering online (that is, everybody) there is some good news on that front. 

Apple's estimated delivery time for New Zealand customers - which began at 2-3 weeks then ballooned to 3-4 weeks then 4-5 weeks - is now back to 2-3 weeks.

Apple silent
The company has yet to respond to NBR queries about when the iPad 2 will be restocked at retail.

Initial stock, which ran to as few as 30 units at some outlets (see below) sold out within hours.

Exciting news on NBR's iPad 2
NBR bought an iPad 2 on March 25. 

Through some kind of malfeasant collapse of corporate governance, it's going to another employee.

Nevertheless, I can report that an order update today said the tablet shipped from China April 2, and should be delivered April 12 - comfortably inside the promised 2-3 week lead time.

UPDATED TUESDAY MARCH 29: Echoing the reader comment below, Telecommunications Users Association Paul Brislen reports that there are three iPad 2s left at Auckland International Airport duty free.

Mr Brislen just bought one, reducing the New Zealand stock level by 33%.

MONDAY MARCH 28: iPad 2 had a farcical launch on Friday evening. It echoed the confusion surrounding the iPhone 4's initial release.

The day after, I visited a couple of retailers in Newmarket, Auckland.

At Noel Leeming, a sales rep told me they had 30 units in on Friday evening (the same number Dick Smith Albany told me it was allocated).

Across the road, Yoobee (formerly Magnum Mac), a "premium authorised Apple dealer" also had no units (280 sold out in three hours following the 5pm Friday launch).

It's the same at story at retailers everywhere. Friday's "launch" was a taster. The actual launch will take place who-knows-when. 

At Noel Leeming, I was told I should pre-order instore, to make sure I got an iPad 2 when the next batch comes in ("It could be weeks; we don't know").

At Yoobee, I was told delays ("we don't know when we'll get stock. It could be tomorrow; it could be weeks") I was told the Japan quake and attendant component delays were to blame. Apple has yet to make any comment on the retail stock situation.

It's hard to see how any buyer would pre-order at any store - unless they were unaware that orders can be made directly from Apple, via its iPad 2 website, with a clearly stated delivery time (as I type, two to three weeks).

At some unknown time (April 25? May 25?) iPad 2 will launch in plentiful numbers in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Meantime, retailers' various promotions are doing nothing but drive traffic to Apple's direct sales site. 

For Yoobee especially - owned by once-exclusive Apple distributor Renaissance (NZX: RNS) - that's got to hurt.

Incidentally, Noel Leeming - I'm not sure if party balloons and marker pen fall inside Apple's brand police guidelines. But maybe you don't care so much at this point.

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iPad 2 still sold out at retail - but online, delivery time falls