Apple’s iPad 2 went on sale in Australia and 24 other countries world-wide on Friday March 25th. The US launch for iPad2 in early March sold-out during during launch weekend, so just how successful was the iPad 2 launch in Australia ? While there were reports that individual stores sold out of particular models, they certainly weren’t sold-out across the board like the iPad 1 launch.
Naturally Apple’s largest retail stores had long lines in the capital cities, as they catered for the most hard-core Apple fans. These A-list stores did indeed sell out, but already have new stock, with customers lining up each day since launch. Multiple reports online indicate Melbourne folks were still picking up iPad2’s yesterday at JB Hi-Fi. If you are looking for iPad 2 stock, search online for user reports or call ahead, rather than wait in line and be disappointed.
Apple’s website now says devices will ship in 3-4 weeks if you buy online, but if you have an Apple Store nearby, you’ll likely be able to walk in and pick one up within the next week. It seems Apple are placing a much higher priority on stocking physical stores rather than servicing online customers who may not have an Apple Store in their location (outside capital cities).
There’s two possible reasons for why the iPad 2 hasn’t completely sold-out. The first is that Apple accurately anticipated the level of demand and was able to ramp up production to meet that demand and supply enough units at launch. The second is that first day demand for iPad 2 was actually less than Apple had expected. The fact that Apple could supply some resellers with stock also indicates the manufacturers had been hard at work.
As a gadget-hungry tech enthusiast, even I was able to resist the temptation to upgrade and don’t think I was alone. The differences between iPad 1 and iPad 2 are iterative at best. Sure thinner and lighter would be nice, and the extra performance will certainly be exploited by developers over time, but perhaps the biggest addition is the front and back cameras. The cameras in iPad2, particularly the front-facing camera have been universally slammed in reviews for being of poor quality.
Bad quality isn’t something we’re used to hearing about Apple products. The engineering and technology usually associated with their products is market-leading. To add to the camera woes, 9to5mac are reporting camera freezing issues with FaceTime on some iPad2s. There’s no details on how widespread this issue is and may be fixed in iOS4.3.1, still it isn’t helping the cause.
Release numbers for the first weekend of sales for iPad 2 should be expected on Monday and will no doubt be strong. The cheaper price (starting at $579) may also invite new customers to the product. iPad 1 users, enjoy your product, its still a great product. Over the coming weeks and months, expect to see a division grow between the models as developers begin exploiting the extra performance and graphics capabilities of iPad2. This means that some iPad apps will require an iPad 2 to run.