Based on multiple reader and third-party reports, Apple retail stores across the country are continuing to see daily lineups in the morning of customers looking to purchase an iPad 2, despite no promises of availability and reports of limited stock when shipments do arrive. Mark Hosbein, a potential iPad 2 customer, wrote on Cult of Mac that “There are several people who have waited in line multiple days and still do not get product. I was with 70 angry customers this morning. Only ten people got iPads – there were twenty available and the first ten people – many of whom looked like resellers for eBay or were shipping them overseas – all bought two.” Indeed, the problems with customers purchasing extra units to resell seems to be a widespread problem, as iLounge reader Ben points out: “I don’t know if its like this in other cities, but NYC is plagued by scalpers. At this point Apple really needs to reduce the purchase limit to 1, at least in the cities that are being run by these guys. Its ridiculous.”
iPad 2 launch day line at the Walden Galleria Apple Store in Buffalo, NY.
Aside from the issue of potential scalpers, Apple has thus far opted not to offer an online availability checker. The company offered this service for both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, letting customers check stock levels at any of the company’s U.S.-based retail stores without the need for phone calls or physical visits; Mac Rumors notes that some readers are instead using Target’s inventory tracking service to find units. A report last week indicated that some Apple retail stores were holding new shipments of iPad 2 units for sale until the following morning, in some cases opening early in order to serve as many iPad 2 customers as possible before the start of normal business hours. While it may seem counter-intuitive, readers looking to purchase an iPad 2 may at this point be better off placing an order online—despite the quoted 4-5 week wait time—to guard against the wasted time and frustration that could come with lining up at an Apple retail store on a daily basis only to come away empty-handed.