updated 12:10 pm EDT, Sun March 11, 2012
Apple says 2012 iPad demand exceptional
Apple backed unofficial checks this weekend with remarks confirming that it had sold out of its launch day iPad stock. The company briefed USA Today that demand had been "off the charts" and the initial pre-order batch had been cleared out. Specific sales numbers weren't available ahead of the official March 16 launch.
Retail stores will still have supply for launch day. Supply remains best in the US and Canada, where all models still ship March 19. Most other countries, however, are now quoting a two- to three-week shipping delay for any new iPad.
Potential exists for Apple to have outpaced its own recent sales history. It ran out of launch day stock at roughly the same pace as the iPhone 4S. US-bound shipments aren't facing as severe a delay so far, but Apple is also launching in ten countries and quoting longer delays on average.
The performance might put further pressure on Android tablet makers that have never seen similar demand. Amazon has regularly touted Kindle Fire demand but has been reluctant to give hard data. Third party estimates put it at just under four million between mid-November and the end of December, but with significant production cuts in the winter, Amazon may see Apple regain what share it might have lost.