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Apple has sold out of iPad 2 units in the USA with the company believed to have sold between 500,000 and 600,000 units. Now speculation is mounting that the company may have supply issues following the earthquake in Japan, where Flash memory used in their tablet is manufactured.Analysts believe Apple sold between 500,000 and 600,000 of its new iPad2 tablets over the weekend, more than it sold of the first iPad when it went on sale in April last year. Some 500,000 were probably sold in the first 24 hours, according to one analyst, completely selling out stocks allotted to Apple stores.

Supply of the device which goes on sale in Australia on the 25th of March is set to be limited with some tippingt that it will only be sold via Apple Shops and JB Hi Fi initally due to heavy demand globally. Appple executives have not said what impact the Japanese Earthquake will have on the supply of components for the iPad 2. 

The rush to the new iPad does not augur well for the makers of rival Android and other OS tablet models, including Samsung, Motorola, Acer, Viewsonic, RIM and HP, who face battling for a relatively small section of the rapidly growing tablet market, with models that mostly cost more than the upgraded iPad.

And it also raises the possibility of a delay to Apple’s plan to launch the iPad 2 in 26 more countries – including Australia – on March 25. That would echo what happened last year when large early sales of the first iPad in the US forced Apple to delay the Australian launch from April to late May, diverting supplies intended for other countries to the US.

At an average price of US$600 (models range from $499 to $829) this first weekend’s takings for Apple would have been more than $300 million- nearly all of it on the first day.

 

 

There were long queues at many of the 236 Apple stores across the US, where it went on sale at 5pm Friday. Analysts at Piper Jaffray and Deutsche Bank claim the Apple iPad 2 was basically sold out by Saturday afternoon.

However not all queuers were buying for themselves: some were grey marketers looking to buy for overseas countries, especially Hong Kong and China, where – as in Australia – the iPad 2 is not due to go on sale until March 25.

One Hong Kong operator, Digital Action Telecom, said it had received 200 orders. Sales manager Kurt Lo said he had eight couriers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles who would hopefully hop on planes to Hong Kong after securing about 200 iPads.

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