This morning I received an email titled: “iPad 2 is here.” More accurately, it should read: “iPad 2 is here. Sort of.” Because it’s not really here, is it Apple?
The iPad 2 went on sale on the online Apple Store at 1am last night. I jumped on 10 minutes before then – merely out of journalistic curiosity, of course *cough* - only to discover that the wait time for every model was 2-3 weeks.
That wait time applied – and still applies at the time of writing – to all 12 models. So that’s the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB iPad 2, in black or white, with or without 3G. Unbelievable.
If it’s anything like the situation across the Atlantic, expect to see that wait time creep up over the next few days. In the US the estimated shipping time quickly rose from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks to 4-5 weeks. Incidentally, it’s not quite so bad over there now; only 3-4 weeks of thumb-twiddling if you want an iPad 2.
Unless I somehow missed a two-minute window where the iPad 2 was available immediately, it seems that the wait time was 2-3 weeks right off the bat. That’s not quite “launching”, Apple. Effectively the iPad 2 is available – online at least – from April 8.
Imagine going to meet someone, then discovering that they’ll arrive in 2-3 weeks. You’d be pretty angry, I imagine. And rightly so. Or going to see a movie only to discover that, while it’s “released” that day, it’s not actually showing for another 2-3 weeks.
So, early adopters keen to be among the first to own the iPad 2 will have to queue at retail stores, where the coveted tablet will go on sale at 5pm tonight. We expect a lot of people will go home disappointed.
It’s unlikely that this semi-release will harm the iPad 2’s sales. And that’s one of the things that really annoy me about Apple. They can pretty much do whatever the hell they want.
I’m reminded of last June, when the iPhone 4 came out. It was also plagued by stock shortages. Well, I say “plagued”; there were rumours that Apple was intentionally drip-feeding stock to keep consumers whipped up in an iPhone 4-craving frenzy. Or maybe that’s just conspiracy theory nonsense. But I digress.
Back in June 2010 I worked for a mobile company, and used our stock checker to send my friend driving across the country in a desperate search for the iPhone 4. After visiting more than half a dozen stores and leaving empty-handed, he gave up. “Why should I have to go to so much effort to give Apple my money?” So he bought an HTC Desire instead and hasn’t looked back. Of course, he could’ve waited a few weeks for the iPhone 4, but that’s not the point.
Unfortunately, it’s not like there’s an alternative to the iPad 2 at the moment. We can’t exactly show our indignation by buying, say, a Motorola Xoom, HTC Flyer or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead. Cripes knows when they’ll be released over here.
We recently commended Apple for getting its gear out soon after announcing it. Conversely, it often takes months for the likes of Motorola, Samsung and HTC to get their new goodies on the shelves. But I can’t help but feel that Apple should’ve pushed the release date back by a couple of weeks. It’s as if, before they revealed the iPad 2 on March 2, they asked: “What’s the very earliest we can start drip-feeding this thing?”
Not that I’m annoyed or anything. I didn’t intend to buy one anyway. Honest.