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Summary:

Around 6 a.m. on April 3, 2010, prospective iPad buyers began lining up at the Apple Store in Durham, N.C., with simliar lines forming across the U.S. Nearly a year and 20 million iPads later, history is about to repeat itself with the iPad 2 launch.

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Around 6 a.m. on April 3, 2010, prospective iPad buyers began lining up at the Apple Store in Durham, N.C., with similar lines forming at other Apple Stores across the U.S. as early as the day before. Nearly a year and around 20 million iPads later, it appears history is about to repeat itself with the iPad 2 launch.

Today, DigiTimes is reporting Apple has ordered some 40 million iPads for 2011, including 10 to 12 million for the second quarter, and 6 to 6.5 million this quarter. Of those shipping in the first quarter, the iPad 2 will account for some 2 to 3 million units. Setting aside the questionable accuracy of DigiTimes, the cause it cites for supply problems — display yields — was echoed by Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope.

Shope, citing his own sources (via AppleInsider) in a research note, asserted that the “iPad 2′s ultra-thin glass screen is generating yield issues,” though he also said it was more of a “process problem,” and improving upon the process could see “volumes ramp fairly quickly.” It should be noted Shope accurately, if vaguely, predicted details of the iPad 2.

If those reports seem an insubstantial basis for predicting shortages of the iPad 2 at launch, consider the details of the launch itself. Like the original iPad launch, the iPad 2 will be sold only in the U.S. While the international launch is scheduled for more than two dozen countries on March 25, there are, as of yet, no details on how to buy an iPad 2 at international Apple Stores. Instead, eager visitors find just a “Notify Me” button for joining an e-mail list.

While the U.S. store does list buying details, the big difference from last year is that there is no pre-order option. Though Apple never announced specific pre-order-only numbers, 300,000 iPads, including pre-orders, were sold on launch day. It’s certain that total will be exceeded this year, since the iPad now has a proven track record and a stellar reputation, meaning the pressure on local Apple Stores and retail partners like Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam’s Club will be intense. Further, the iPad 2 will not go on sale until 5 p.m. EST, which means the line will be growing over the course of the entire day, with a big push towards the end as people leave work early to get in line.

While Apple Stores will have the longest lines, they will also have the most stock. Expect Apple’s retail partners to get shorted on units, and there’s no word on whether AT&T and Verizon stores will have any new iPads at all. Especially if you want the 16 GB Wi-Fi model, which is the most popular model, be at an Apple Store as early as possible.

Now is the time to decide whether instant iPad 2 gratification on March 11 is worth the wait in line. If so, plan on making a day of it. It’s what the 10-hour battery of your current iPad is made for.

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  1. I am sure lot’s of people will and won’t be able to take a day off. It is very odd that they chose 5pm and you cannot pre-order it.

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    1. Tristan Marcelis Friday, March 4, 2011

      It’s not odd, they want to create buzz by showing off long lines for their new product, it’s Apple. Especially, after the Verizon iPhone 4 came out and no more than two people were in line because everything was sold through preorders.

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      1. If long lines was their motivation, then Apple would not have allowed for simultaneous opening day distribution at Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam’s Club.

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    2. Launching on a Friday evening is not unprecedented for Apple, as the original iPhone went on sale at 6:00 PM on Friday, June 29th, 2007.

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  2. Laughing_Boy48 Friday, March 4, 2011

    This is so damn amusing. Apple is going to absolutely crush iPad 2 sales. Apple is going to move more iPad 2s in one day than the rest of the tablet industry is going to move in six months. I hope the weather stays mild so everyone camping out has a great time. It sure should be a lot of fun camping on the sidewalk for days shooting the breeze. This is going to become the decade of the iPad and nothing is going to stop Apple from generating big numbers of iPad units and revenue.

    I think that Apple is not allowing pre-orders so the media gets a good look at iPad 2 demand and it will shut up all the retard analysts, so-called “technical experts” and iHaters that think the iPad 2 is nothing special. Idiots that know nothing about consumers’ desires need to be seriously schooled. iPad 2 sales are going to make even the best iPhone sales look weak in comparison.

    Thanks, Steve. You’ve done it again. Now let’s start to see Apple’s share price start moving up again. Unless a war breaks out in the Middle East, March 11th is going to be filled with iPad 2 news across the nation. It will be hard to avoid.

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  3. I guess that eliminating pre-orders Apple will have more iPads for Apple stores avoiding issue not having enough iPads as they had when iPad 1 came out. It is also excellent marketing move, they will have more early adopters waiting in the line on day one.

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  4. iPad 1 went on sale at 8:00am on a Saturday while iPad 2 will go on sale at 5:00pm on a Friday. I wonder if that will make a difference?

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  5. Ordering online and waiting for it to get to your home might be painful for die hard iPad fans. So, yeah camping out seems fine, just need to find that Best Buy where people won’t dwell to get a iPad 2 :-D

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    1. Just make sure your Best Buy has the model you want and enough of them so they don’t run out by the time you are next in line. :-)

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  6. Anyone who would camp out for 8 days to buy something needs to get a life. Seriously. It’s not like you won’t be able to walk in a few days later with no line and grab one – or order online, etc.

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    1. People have different priorities, Jim. While I agree with you that there is no need to wait in line, these people are obviously doing it for the publicity or for the experience. Let’s not judge them too harshly. Each to his own. I’m sure that if they knew the details of our lives, they would think that you and I need to “get a life” too.

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      1. Good point. People who live in get a life houses, shouldn’t throw iPads. Incidentally, I happly agree with everything Laughing_Boy48 wrote above. It’s all about the experience!

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  7. iPad 2 has great features and i love to get it but rumors on web is saying that it won’t be available next 6 months in India. If is true then tell from where i can get this? Suggest me..

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