26 Mar 2011

Fans queue to beat iPad shortages

6:55 am on 26 March 2011

Customers queued outside Apple stores in Asia and Europe to buy an iPad 2 tablet computer on Friday amid fears that shortages in the United States would be repeated abroad.

The iPad 2 was introduced in the United States on 11 March and analysts estimate about a million were sold in the first weekend. Prices start at $US499.

On Friday, the rollout was extended to 25 countries including most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico.

It will be officially available in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and other countries in April.

The first iPad went on sale a year ago. It sold 500,000 units in the first week and crossed the 1 million unit mark in 28 days. Nearly 15 million were sold in nine months of 2010.

Waiting time for delivery of online iPad orders has shortened to three to four weeks from six to seven weeks a few days ago.

However, analysts say Apple is unlikely to avoid a hit from the disruption arising from the earthquake and tsunasmi in Japan on 11 March.

Several key components in the new version come from Japan, according to technology research firm IHS iSuppli.