Apple Sold Out of New iPads, Preorders Slip Several Weeks

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

If you ordered one of Apple’s new iPads hoping to beat the store crowds, you may wind up waiting longer than you expected — demand for Apple’s latest whiz-bang tablet has reportedly outstripped supply, pushing back the new iPad’s ship date. Apple says it’s sold out of the tablet worldwide, and that even preorders will have to wait until after the tablet’s official launch date to get their hands on one.

The new iPad debuts on Friday, March 16, but Apple now says preorders placed through its website in the U.S. and Canada won’t ship until the following Monday, March 19. And if you try to preorder now, still five days from launch, Apple’s website says your order won’t ship for “2-3 weeks.” The kicker: Apple had promised the tablet would be available by March 16 to customers who preordered online.

(MORE: 6 Reasons Not to Buy Apple’s ‘New’ iPad)

There may be hope for a lucky few. Some customers are claiming they’ve received emailed that their orders have already shipped (say it with me, “a bird in the hand…”).

If you still want a shot at grabbing a tablet on day one, you could always brave the legendary store lines. I’d say something about finding an Apple Store in a covered mall, where it’ll be warm and dry, but since this is the winter that wasn’t, anywhere will probably do. I get the sense this launch is going to be especially frenetic though, with early sellouts all but guaranteed, so don’t be shocked if you find folks are pitching tents and settling in with mini-DVD players the night before.

Or you could just trawl sites like eBay for one, where some are trying to pass the new iPad off for as much as $3,000, and hope your seller has the inside track on securing their “day one” availability claim. Paying more for new technology to establish day-one bragging rights is generally foolish, of course. Imagine the buyer’s remorse people who drop three or four times what the iPad’s actually worth must feel a week or two after, when supply catches back up to demand.

MORE: New iPad Launch: Why Everything We Think We Know About Apple’s Events Is Wrong