updated 06:10 pm EDT, Tue March 20, 2012
UK retailers report record-breaking sales
Sales of the new iPad are up as much as 80 percent over last year's launch of the iPad 2, sources at one of the larger retail outlets for Apple gear in the UK have told Pocket-Lint. One PC World outlet in London, which opened its doors at midnight for a special first-day sale, says it sold a new iPad every 20 seconds for the entire 90 minutes it was open for the sale. Currys, owned by the same company, also reported 80 percent higher sales.
Both outlets have announced official tablet and mobile phone trade-in offers for UK customers via the combined website. Users can exchange older handsets or tablets in exchange for gift vouchers for merchandise from either retailer.
An iPad 2 can fetch as much as $447.85 for a 64GB Wi-Fi+3G model in good condition. A 16GB Wi-Fi version can be traded in for $323.34 (all prices adjusted to US dollars). The company even accepts broken tablets or phones, though of course the offer is significantly lower. [via Pocket-Lint]
New iPads being smuggled into China via Hong Kong, US
Reports from "grey market" importers smuggling new iPads into China from Hong Kong or even the US are being quoted in television reports as saying that more than 200,000 of the devices have already made their way to the mainland, where no formal launch date for the new iPad has yet been announced. Most are smuggled in from Hong Kong, but a "noticeable" number of ethnic Chinese immigrants and students have been buying multiple devices during visits to US stores as well, presumably to pass them on to smugglers, reports China United Television.
New iPads are said to be going for up to 10,000RMB ($1,580.93 US), but the price is expected to drop down to more reasonable levels, just $80 to $100 over over what the expected Chinese retail price would be. Buyers in Hong Kong can earn up to $13 per iPad they pass on to grey marketeers, while US smugglers can fetch around $20 per device. Because there is no set date when the new iPad will be available, demand is high, despite the fact that the iPad is largely manufactured in China.
For many Chinese, participating in supplying the smugglers allows them to earn substantially more than they normally would in a day, particularly those from other parts of China who travel back and forth between Hong Kong and the mainland, hiding the iPads in baggage or inside their clothing. China is not expected to get the new iPad legally for several months due to difficult import restrictions and regulatory approvals. [via CUTV]