iPad 2 Now On Sale at Apple Online Store; Expect a Wait

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In case you missed it, the iPad 2 officially went on sale online at the Apple Store at 1 AM PST today. Online sales may have started a good 16 hours before the iPad 2 arrives in physical retail stores, but if even if you order right now you’ll be facing a much longer wait than you probably would if you were waiting in line.

All models are currently available, but already wait times for shipping have gone from three-to-five days, to five-to-seven days, and are now at two-to-three weeks for every model save one: the black 16 GB 3G Verizon iPad ships in three-to-five business days as of this writing. Either the iPad 2 is doing amazingly well right out of the gate, or Apple put most of the available stock into its brick-and-mortar retail channels to ensure customers who braved lines don’t walk away disappointed.

A two to three week shipping timeframe for current orders puts the U.S. iPad 2 in line with Apple’s limited international release, set for Mar. 25. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but if demand is stronger than Apple anticipated, those of us outside the U.S. should prepare for an extended wait as Apple scrambles to fill existing orders. Apple is limiting customers to a maximum of two iPad purchases, likely an effort to staunch the flow of overpriced resales through eBay, craigslist and other similar channels.

Customers hoping to get their iPad 2 from other online sources can check out AT&T, which is offering the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad models for sale right now, with a listed shipping time of five to seven business days. Verizon doesn’t begin its online sales until 5 PM today, and other outlets like Best Buy and Walmart have yet to begin or detail plans for e-sales.

Did anyone already place their online order? If so, when did you order it and what was your expected shipping time?

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