Customers who pre-order an iPad today via the Apple website are being told they will have to wait up to three weeks to get the new tablet computer.
According to reports from the US, customers in Canada and America are being told iPad pre-orders will ship on March 19th – three days after the new iPad goes on sale. Apple’s online stores for France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan are also reporting delays of up to three weeks.
Apple announced the new iPad at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday last week. It has a ‘Retina’ display, with four-times as many pixels as the iPad 2, an improved processor for better graphics performance, and a five-megapixel camera.
The new iPad also supports LTE connectivity in those countries where it is available. LTE offers significantly faster mobile data speeds than 3G but is not yet available in the UK. However, the new iPad also supports faster 3G protocols such as HSPA+ and DC HSDPA, both of which are available in Britain.
This is the first time that Apple has launched a new iPad in Britain on the same day that it goes on sale in the US. The company has restricted orders to two iPads per person but is still expecting shortages. The delays for online pre-orders are likely to increase queues outside Apple stores on Friday.
The iPad 2, which will remain on sale but at a lower price than the new iPad, also sold out quickly when it was launched last year. Within days of launch, expected delivery times for online orders had grown to up to five weeks.
Last week, eBay said that more than 16,000 iPads had been listed for sale in the two weeks preceding the Apple announcement, suggesting that many users were preparing to upgrade.