Fears that stock of the iPad 2 in the UK might run low look justified, as online orders for the device go live – with Apple saying that customers might have to wait two or three weeks for their iPads to arrive.

Online orders for the iPad went live on Apple’s website shortly after midnight UK time, ahead of the 5pm launch in stores around the UK.

That stock situation replicates that in the US, where many shops ran out of the tablets and online shipping times quickly shot up to over a month at one point, suggesting that Apple were having trouble manufacturing enough iPads to meet demand.

It also means that queues at Apple Stores – which already started forming yesterday morning – are only likely to grow, as iPad devotees realise that the only way to get their hands on one for the next fortnight at least will be to buy one from a physical store. Not that Apple will be too upset at bigger queues and everybody getting the impression that their product is massively in demand.

Indeed, the people already queueing outside the Regent Street Apple Store in London who we interviewed last night gave the expected long wait for online orders as their reason for camping out for over a day.

The iPad 2 goes on sale at 5pm in Apple Stores and select other retailers – including PC World and Currys, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy, as well as the 3G version being available from some mobile phone networks own stores. With the non-Apple retailers, not every store will necessarily have stock, so it’s probably worth checking beforehand if your local branch will be selling it.


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