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iPad 2: Here Today, Gone Today

3/14/2011 02:53:55 PM Eastern

New York - Apple said it is "working
hard to get iPad 2 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as
possible" in the wake of shortages of the product at retail.

crowd

The product went on sale a 5 p.m.
local time Friday and is already out-of-stock in many -- if not all -- stores.

Analyst Chris Whitmore of
Deutsche Bank said a survey of around 100 stores a few hours after the device
went on sale found all of the stores to be out of stock. The stores included Apple,
Best Buy, Walmart, Verizon and AT&T. He estimated sell-through of more than
450,000 units on the first day.

At AT&T, a spokesman cited
"great customer response" for the fact that "some of our stores have already
sold through their inventory." In those stores, he said, "we're taking orders
through our direct fulfillment process, which means your device will arrive at
the store within 14 to 21 days." Customers will receive an email from AT&T
to notify them that their shipment is ready to be picked up, he said. Consumers
who order online will get their devices between 14 and 21 days from when the order
is placed.

For its part, Verizon Wireless didn't
say how many of its stores are out of stock but did say customers can go to
stores to place an order and have the iPad 2 shipped to their house. The
carrier hasn't offered the iPad 2 through its online store.

A Best Buy spokesperson told
Reuters that some stores ran out within 10 minutes, but the company declined
further comment on its inventory situation to TWICE. The chain offers the Wi-Fi
version of the iPad 2 in its Best Buy stores and select Best Buy Mobile
locations, with the AT&T and Verizon versions limited to the chain's Apple
Sales Consultant (ASC) stores, where Apple stations its own employees in Best
Buy stores.

Best Buy's online release date
has not been determined yet, a spokesman said.

Walmart hasn't responded to
inquiries.

Piper Jaffray estimates that
400,000 to 500,000 iPad 2s were sold in one day compared with 300,000 iPads
sold last year in their first weekend of availability.

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