updated 10:50 pm EDT, Fri June 10, 2011
Units also allegedly being pulled from retail
[Updated: Apple has confirmed the problem is due to duplicate mobile equipment identifiers] Apple is interrupting at least some shipments of Verizon iPad 2s and recalling them, say people who have ordered online. FedEx packages are reportedly being marked "return to sender" at Apple's request, although in some cases the positions of Apple support staff may be inconsistent with FedEx's, either acknowledging a recall, claiming no information on the matter or stating that the problem is with FedEx. Supporting the idea of a recall is a witness at the Lakeside Shopping Center Apple Store in Louisiana, who claims that two people recently left the store with a cart full of boxes, which had "Verizon 64GB" and "Verizon 32GB" marked on the outside.
While affected online orders should be getting replacements and possibly credit for the inconvenience, customers are unhappy as in some instances they may have already been waiting for weeks. Apple is continuing to list shipping times of one to two weeks for new iPads, which means that some people will have waited a month or more to get a tablet. Accessories are shipping on normal schedules.
AT&T and Wi-Fi iPads meanwhile appear to be unaffected. Apple has experienced technical problems with Verizon models in the past; in April, the company had to deal with mounting complaints about units failing to connect to the Verizon network. Regarding the new issue, an Apple Store worker will explain only that the retail chain has received a list of serial numbers to scan, and any matched Verizon units are being sent back to Apple. The process is said to have begun on Monday, and should last through Saturday.
Update: The company has confirmed to AllThingsD that it recalled a "very small number" of Verizon iPad 2s because they were accidentally shipped with identical electronic serial numbers known as MEIDs (Mobile Equipment Identifiers). The MEID is crucial to the activation process and are intended to be unique to each unit. An Apple spokesperson said that most of the recalled units had not yet been sold to consumers, but were in various stages of the distribution pipeline, including some store stock. [via CNet]