The iPad 2
The iPad 2 is ready to launch this week. That's Friday, March 11th, to be exact (internationally, the iPad 2 ships on March 25). As with all of Apple's big announcements and products, you can expect this baby to be the hot item for a few months. The hardcore Apple fans will line up outside the Apple Store to pick one up, and the millions of people refreshing the iPad product page on Apple.com will probably cause things to slow down for a while.
Chances are, it may be a bit difficult to pick it up from day one. It's difficult to say whether they will sell out, as we have no idea how many of those things Apple is shipping, and the tablet isn't available for pre-order as is the case with most of major products.
Buy iPad 2 Online
Many will probably be choosing to buy the iPad 2 online. This is one of the easier solutions as you can sit at home on the computer and wait until retailer websites start selling the new gadget. Let's take a look at a few of the places that say they will be selling it on day one:
Apple.com – Of course. Plus, it's always nice to buy direct.
BestBuy.com – A major Apple partner in retail. Probably the second choice for many. At this point, you must search 'iPad 2' on the company's website to find the tablet.
Walmart.com - They may not be as big of an Apple partner as Best Buy, but they sell a lot of Apple stuff. As with Best Buy, you must search 'iPad 2' on the company website to find the item. Though we wouldn't be surprised if it hit the front page on launch day
Another retailer who can be expected to have the product, but have not yet posted any sort of indication on their website in time for the March 11th launch is Target.com our search on their website only returned a few iPad 2 cases. They did, however, announce over the weekend that they would be carrying the tablet at launch, but that may just mean their retail stores.
Buy an iPad 2 at You Local Retailer
There is one problem with ordering your iPad 2 online. You have to wait for it to ship. Who wants to wait a day or two for their new awesome toy? That's when you go to the Apple Store and wait in line for two days in the snow and have the local news come by and film you in line and they interview you as you sit shivering in your folding chair talking about how awesome the iPad 2 is going to be.
Expect it to look a little something like this (photo: Engadget)
Apple Retail Store
If that sounds like a plan, the Apple retail store is the place for you. Just wait outside and talk to all the other folks who are waiting for Apple's latest device. While this isn't the kind of thing most of us enjoy doing, do know that it's fun to try at least once, if anything just to meet a bunch of people who are all there with the same goal in mind.
Now, that kind of chaos isn't for everybody. There is also a bit of uncertainty as to whether or not the supply will meet demand on the first day. If you are a long way down the line, it's easy to have some doubts.
Best Buy is one of Apple's biggest retail partners. They will be carrying the iPad 2 online from day one according to the company website. They haven't yet announced that they will be carrying the tablet in-store, but it's been our experience that they have always been one of the best when it comes to stocking major Apple products like this at launch.
Target confirmed over the weekend that their retail stores will be carrying the product on day one, so that may be a great choice for those who want it on the first day but hope to see less crowds. Though we have heard that Target will stock them on day one in-store, we haven't seen any sort of "coming soon" or other such indication on their website. While it's likely they will be selling from there as well, just keep that in mind while shopping around online and take it as you will.
The Wal-Mart employees we talked to said that they had not yet received a memo as to whether they were going to receive shipments of the product. Understandably, this meant they couldn't say "yes" or "no" as they didn't want people to expect them and show up to be disappointed when they have no iPad 2 in stock.
The iPad 2 costs the same as the original. Here's the pricing for the full lineup:
$499 – 16GB
$599 – 32GB
$699 – 64GB
$629 – 16GB
$729 – 32GB
$829 – 64GB
This is probably the biggest concern. As it is, there are 18 different SKUs. That's six for wifi only (three models in black and in white) Then six for AT&T and Six for Verizon. That's a lot of stuff to keep in stock. It's unknown which stores will carry what models and in what color. This is another reason it may be a good idea to stick to buying direct. Unless you already know what model you want (which many do) and you know that your model will be relatively easy to find (for instance, 16GB wifi-only in black) you can probably count on it being at the store (at least until it sells out as it's also one of the most popular thanks to the price). However, wanting to get something a bit more specific like a certain model under Verizon's plan may prove a little more difficult at some retailers. Perhaps they will only have AT&T or they will only have them in white, it's hard to say, and at this point, we are willing to bet that the folks working the floor at retailers other than Apple are unsure of what shipments they will receive.
March 11th, Are You Ready?
Are you ready for the craziness of waiting in line and the crowds that flood the Apple retail store as you work your way towards the counter?
If you are planning to wait outside, let us know in the comments. If you plan to order online, let us know who you will shop from. We just like chatter, so come on over and leave comments if ya'd like.