iPad 2 queues start 33 hours early as demand expected to beat supply
Research suggests 25% of existing iPad owners will update as industry sources say supply constraints will leave some waiting
The first person in the line, Jules Lewis from London, was also in the queue for the launch of the original iPad last May. But he insisted that he is not buying it in order to sell it on eBay but will “keep it in the family”.
By lunchtime the queue was already seven strong, and the queue was growing too at Apple’s store in Covent Garden.
Demand for the iPad 2 is expected to outstrip supply substantially. Consumerintelligence.com surveyed 438 iPad owners earlier this week and found that one in four plans to buy an iPad 2 – which will give extra uplift to the tablet’s sales. Apple announced earlier this week that it has cut the price from the original £429 to £399. The new device features a faster processor and cameras on the front and back.
Industry sources suggest that there will be constrained numbers of the devices in the first week or so. Besides Apple’s stores and online ordering, it will also be sold from Argos and by a number of mobile networks including T-Mobile and Vodafone. But The Guardian understands that despite requesting large numbers, the number allocated to non-Apple outlets is less than 20,000. The company is launching the iPad 2 in 24 other countries on the same day, which has put strong pressure on supply: in the US between 500,000 and 1m iPad 2s were sold in the first weekend when it went on sale a fortnight ago.
T-Mobile and Orange will be selling the 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G model for £199 with a 24-month contract for existing customers, or £229 and 24-month contract to new customers.
Vodafone will have similar pricing plans, though it is offering all of the storage sizes – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB – in the 3G range, for prices varying from £199 to £349 for existing customers, and £24.50 per month. New customers will have to pay slightly more.
Rival tablets that would have equivalent features and processing power to the iPad have been announced by a number of competitors, including Motorola, BlackBerry maker RIM, and Samsung, but so far none has given a firm date and price for a UK launch.