The long lines in front of all Apple retail locations across the country last Friday were more than a hint: the iPad 2 proved to be a major success even before it launched. The vast majority of analysts are already convinced that the device will sell better than its predecessor, and that Apple managed to sell almost a million units over the last weekend.
The device is such a success that Apple cannot keep up with the demand, and the device is simply impossible to find. The situation is not expected to improve soon, as the few Apple Stores that received additional units since last Friday ran out of stock almost instantly.
As noted by MacRumors
, potential buyers are becoming increasingly frustrated for not being able to buy the device, even a week after its launch. In some extreme cases, some people have been standing in line for days, camping out in front of their local Apple Store, waiting for more units to arrive.
Besides the incredible demand for the device, Apple may also be suffering from supply-related issues: while Foxconn – the company that assembles all iPads and iPhones on behalf of Apple – is working double shift to increase its iPad 2 production output, the recent events in Japan could render these efforts useless, as several parts used within the iPad 2 come from the country recently affected by earthquakes and tsunamis.
Earlier this week, Foxconn tried to reassure its investors by issuing various statements, to stress the fact that it does not foresee any component shortages, and that the company is working on sourcing the missing components elsewhere. But until the situation in Japan improves, it is difficult to tell whether Foxconn will be able to find new components in time, or not.
Over time, the situation will improve, but in the short term, given the current iPad 2 shortages, Apple may be forced to delay the international launch of the iPad 2, the same way the launch of the first generation iPad was delayed by several months.