Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple Stores virtually sold out of iPad 2 across Canada

Mar 28, 2011 – 1:18 PM ET

Canadian Apple fans hoping to pick up the latest version of the iPad media tablet at an official Apple Inc. retail location on Monday will find themselves out of luck.

Of the 18 Apple Store locations surveyed by the Financial Post Monday morning, only one — located in Calgary's Chinook Centre — claimed to have any iPad 2 units left.

Even there, an employee said they only had "very limited quantities" of a few iPad 2 models left and none of the high-end 64GB (gigabyte) 3G-enabled version.

Apple retail locations usually receive re-supply shipments daily, however none would say when they expected to get topped up on the iPad 2.

Some observers are concerned that the ongoing situation in Japan will make it difficult for the Cupertino, California-based technology giant to keep its market-leading tablet on store shelves long enough to satisfy demand.

"We're hoping to get more of [the iPad 2] into the store by the end of this week," said one retail employee at a location in Quebec who declined to be named.

"But emphasis on the word hoping."

Several locations had depleted their supply of the 10-inch tablet by Friday afternoon, only a few hours after the device went on sale in Canada. The remaining locations sold their last iPad 2s by Saturday afternoon.

One store in Ottawa received a new shipment of iPad 2s on Sunday morning, only to sell out again by noon.

Responding to the influx of eager iPad 2 owners-in-waiting, Apple Store locations across Canada will be implementing a new reservation system starting at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.

Customers will then be able to go to the website of their Apple Store of choice to check on current iPad 2 supplies, then, if possible, reserve one for pickup the next business day.

"We want people to know they don't need to line up anymore," said another Apple Store employee.

Lines started forming early last week in anticipation of the Friday afternoon launch and continued throughout the weekend. Some people were even lined up outside the Ottawa location on Monday morning, only to be sent home disappointed with a request to check availability online Monday evening.

Reports also indicate that third party resellers such as Best Buy Canada and Future Shop have sold out of the Apple tablet. However, a spokesperson for Best Buy Canada — which owns the Future Shop chain — said the chain was looking into its current iPad 2 supplies and declined to immediately confirm those reports.

Demand over the past weekend — when the iPad 2 launched in 25 markets outside the United States including Canada and the United Kingdom — closely mirrored that seen in the United States when the device launched there on March 11.

Analysts believe the company sold up to 1-million iPad 2s over the U.S. launch weekend.

Rival electronics manufacturers are hoping to capitalize on the massive success of the iPad with tablet offerings of their own. Samsung Electronics Corp. launched the Galaxy Tab in Canada last November, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. will bring its Xoom tabletto Canadians in early April and Canada's own Research In Motion Ltd. will begin selling its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to Canadians on April 19.

They will be among more than 50 iPad rivals expected to hit store shelves this year.

Source: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/03/28/apple-stores-sold-out-of-ipad-2-across-canada/

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