iPad 2 Ship Times Increase, International Launch Could Be Delayed?

It’s not just the line-standers: wait times for Apple’s iPad 2 are increasing as the company struggles to keep up with demand for the second-generation tablet.

Ship dates for the iPad 2 have increased from two to three weeks last Friday, the first day it was available online, to four to five weeks as of Tuesday morning on Apple’s website. By most accounts the launch seems to have gone well, with several stores reporting sellouts. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) hasn’t released hard numbers yet but did call response to the launch date “amazing.” (I had “magical” in the office pool.)

In any event, it does appear that people are responding to Apple’s iPad 2 launch and they seem to be new entrants to the tablet market, as opposed to the die-hard Apple enthusiasts. Piper Jaffray, a financial analyst firm that tracks Apple closely, conducted exit surveys at Apple stores around the country and found that 70 percent of iPad 2 buyers were new to the iPad.

However, the response could mean a delay in Apple’s plans to launch the iPad 2 in 26 additional countries on March 25, which the company has yet to confirm. The same thing happened last year to the international launch of the original iPad, although the delay was only a month.

UPDATED 2:15 p.m.: Apple has confirmed that the iPad 2 launch will be delayed in one country, but for reasons totally unrelated to demand. The iPad 2 will not launch in Japan on March 25, for obvious reasons. “We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster,” an Apple representative told All Things D.