Apple Runs Out of New iPads for Friday Launch

Demand for Apple's new iPad leads the company to tell customers they will have to wait weeks for delivery.

Customers who haven€™t yet preordered the latest version of Apple€™s iPad are going to have to wait a little longer to get one, as the company has sold out of its preorder units, which become available this Friday. The sell-out happened in every country where supplies of the new iPad were available, reports ComputerWorld. The tablets will be available in retail stores beginning March 16, according to Apple€™s Website. The company€™s Website also notes that buyers will wait two to three weeks before the new iPad ships.

When the iPad 2 was launched last year, it sold out in a day, leading then-COO (and current CEO) Tim Cook to reference consumer demand for the tablet as €œthe mother of all backlogs.€ Anaylsts predicted that level of demand was expected to be repeated with the launch of the new iPad, which was preceded by months of rumors, media hype and general consumer anticipation.

The new iPad, which features Apple€™s acclaimed high-resolution Retina Display, 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, a new A5X processor with quad-core graphics and a 5-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video, is expected to help it take back tablet market share lost last year to Android devices, according to an IHS iSuppli forecast last week. Apple held a 57 percent share during the fourth quarter of 2011, which is expected to rise to 61 percent for the full year 2012.

The new iPad will keep the same prices as the previous model, starting at $499 for WiFi-only versions and $629 for those with 4G capability. Prices top out at $699 for the WiFi-only, 64GB model and $829 for the 64GB model with WiFi and 4G. It weighs slightly more than the iPad 2, at 1.4 pounds, and offers comparable battery life. Those in the United States will have the option of purchasing the new iPad with 4G LTE connectivity on network operators Verizon and AT&T.

€œThere is no doubt that Apple not only leads the tablet market with the iPad 2, but also created today€™s arena for tablet devices. Since the introduction of the iPad, other manufacturers have struggled to respond with products that have appealed to consumers in the same way,€ said Adam Leach, principal analyst of marketing research firm Ovum. €œHowever, we expect competition to get more intense through 2012. High on the list of challengers will be Google and Microsoft; both companies are hoping to break into the growing tablet market by providing hardware manufacturers with the software platforms and developer ecosystems that will allow them to compete directly with Apple€™s iOS.€

A recent national study of small and midsize business (SMB) owners reveals how critical the iPad and other mobile devices have become to this hardworking market segment. A survey from The Business Journals shows that iPad use has nearly quadrupled among SMBs over the past year, expanding from 9 percent in 2010 to 34 percent in 2011, indicating that the iPad is the fastest-growing technology among SMBs. Since the iPad's launch in April 2010, familiarity with the product has reached incredibly high levels, with 75 percent of SMB owners reporting now being "very or somewhat familiar" with the device, according to The Business Journals study.