Here’s a preview of what international Apple fans can expect for the iPad 2 launch later today. The iPad 2 went on sale in New Zealand about an hour ago as I write this. About 15 minutes or so later, it pretty much sold out nationwide. iPhonewzealand has a good roundup of user pics from lineups all over the nation, and though the lines are much shorter than in the States, they still show great enthusiasm.
Two stores in the city I live in were authorized to sell the iPad 2 according to Apple’s website: Dick Smith Electronics (DSE) and JB Hi-Fi. I watched the line progress at DSE, where about 40 people had lined up by the time the launch took place at 5 PM local time. Oddly enough, the first person in line said he’d only queued up an hour beforehand; by contrast, people in major cities like Auckland and Wellington had been in line for several hours hoping to buy Apple’s latest gadget. This was in spite of the fact that many resellers didn’t give line standers official confirmation that they had stock on hand until well into the day — New Zealand doesn’t have any official Apple Stores, and for some reason, resellers were being very coy throughout the day.
Dick Smith sold through its entire stock of iPad 2 units in 15 minutes. Store employees wouldn’t divulge exactly how many units they had (“very limited” was all they could tell me), but based on the number of people who left empty-handed, I’d say this store received a total of 25 units. JB Hi-Fi, on the other hand, actually had stock left over when I went there, with two units unsold. JB Hi-Fi’s employees confirmed that they, too, received only around 25 units in total. The good news is, if you do manage to snag an iPad 2, you won’t be left wanting for accessories. Although virtually every iPad 2 buying customer left DSE with a Smart Cover, there were dozens left over afterward.
Extrapolating upward from ~50 units sold in Palmerston North, that means New Zealand received at most 2500 iPad 2 units on launch day. Note that this is a very rough back-of-the-envelope calculation based on comparing the number of units in Palmerston North (50) versus its population (~80,000) versus the population of New Zealand (about four million). In reality, I’d guess the total number of iPad 2s sold today probably numbers closer to 1500 or less — still much higher than my very pessimistic estimate of 500 units. That being said, given the very limited stock sold where I live and the 3-4 week shipping delay, I’m glad I got mine from the States.
All told, this paints a picture for the international iPad 2 launch that pretty much everyone had to expect after seeing how things went down in the US — though countries like the UK and Australia, who both have official Apple Retail Stores, are likely to get much more allocated stock than New Zealand, where everything goes through resellers. Yes, the iPad 2 is launching in 25 countries on March 25…, but if you want one, you’d better get in line as soon as you finish reading this sentence. Go!