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New iPad Delays: Wait Time For Online Orders Hits 3 Weeks Due To 'Off The Charts' Demand

New Ipad Wait Delays

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/12/2012 11:15 am Updated: 03/12/2012 11:55 am

Two to three weeks: If you buy an iPad online through Apple's website right now, that's how long you can expect to wait for your new tablet to arrive.

Apple has apparently sold out of new iPads, leaving customers who didn't immediately order theirs after Apple's media event last Wednesday seeing waiting times of up to three weeks, according to GigaOM. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the shortage to the USA Today over the weekend, boasting that demand for the new iPad was "off the charts." Eager shoppers can still order the new iPad online, though they won't get the tablet until long after the third-generation Apple tablet becomes available in stores on Friday, March 16 (though there's no guarantee of being able to buy one once it hits the selves).

Long wait times at the launch of a new product have become the norm for Apple in recent years: The iPad 2 saw delays of up to five weeks when it was released in 2011, while eager customers waited up to four weeks for their iPhone 4S back in October.

Meanwhile, you can probably expect shortages of the new iPad at your local Apple store, too: Fans have already begun lining up outside at least one Apple retailer, in London -- tech site Slashgear spotted a pair of line-waiters with folding chairs and warm clothes over the weekend.

The new iPad was unveiled at an Apple event last week in San Francisco to familiar hype. Apple's third-generation iPad packs a high-resolution Retina display screen, an improved processor and battery life, and the option for 4G LTE compatibility on AT&T and Verizon (See our infographic here on how the new iPad compares to the iPad 2).

Rumors leading up to the event anticipated this shortage of iPads, as reports from the supply chain claimed that suppliers were having difficulties producing mass quantities of the Retina display screens for the iPad. There hasn't been any further confirmation that this is the case: A conspiracy theorist or cynic might wonder if Apple is just claiming that demand is so high that waiting times are necessary in order to drum up good press, in which case -- mission accomplished, Apple.

Whatever is causing the delays -- overwhelming demand or marketing magic -- the fact remains that if you are hoping to be among the first to try out the new iPad and haven't yet ordered, you're going to have to brave an Apple store or electronics retailer in order to get one. In the meantime, if you're really desperate, there is no shortage of camping tents available for overnight delivery on Amazon, and you could be the first to claim a piece of pavement outside the Apple store in your hometown today.

Flip through the slideshow to view 11 things you need to know about the new iPad.

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  • Show-Stopping Display

    The photo above shows the difference between the iPad 2's 1,024 x 768 pixel display and the new iPad's high-definition Retina display, which has double the resolution and four times the pixels (2,048 x 1,536 pixels). <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/features/retina-display.html" target="_hplink">Apple has described a Retina display as</a> "pixel density is so high your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels." And how does it stack up to other tablet displays? <a href="http://twitter.com/ryan/statuses/177548523254988800" target="_hplink">GDGT's Ryan Block said</a> of his first hands-on with the new device: "It's the best display I've ever seen. Anywhere, period."

  • 4G, A First For Apple

    Apple's March 7 event marked a first for Apple, the arrival of 4G LTE connectivity on a mobile device. Purchased with a two-year contract from either AT&T or Verizon, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/ipad-hd-apples-next-ipad-_n_1323535.html" target="_hplink">a 4G iPad</a> will, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204603004577267441821060940.html" target="_hplink">according to The Wall Street Journal,</a> "allow users to connect a[t] speeds roughly 10 times faster than current 3G data networks." 4G models will also "work on any 3G network," <a href="http://gigaom.com/apple/apple-ipad-event-live-blog/" target="_hplink">per GigaOm</a>. New iPad models equipped with this unique feature, however, will cost users slightly more than models without 4G. (More on this later.)

  • Meatier Specs

    The new iPad may look pretty similar to the old one, but it's packing some serious hardware upgrades within its thin frame. <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/new-ipad-vs-ipad-2/" target="_hplink">These include a faster processor</a>, the "quad-core" 1GHz Apple A5X, which Apple claims to offer twice the processing power of the A5 CPU (found in the iPad2) and four times the graphics-rendering power of the Tegra 3 processor found in many Android tablets, <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/03/live-blog-apple-ipad3-event/ " target="_hplink">per Wired's live blog of the event</a>. <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5891158/new-ipad-hd-the-third-generation" target="_hplink">Gizmodo argues</a> that Apple has also probably upped the device's RAM, "if only to handle the new resolution."

  • No Siri

    The new iPad did not get Apple standout iPhone 4S feature, the voice-activated virtual personal assistant, Siri. What it did get was Voice Dictation, which will be a blessing for anyone who has ever tried to type on the iPad's tricky virtual keyboard. To use the handy new feature, just tap the microphone icon on the keyboard and start talking. <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/ios-5-update-siri-speaks-japanese-voice-dictation-comes-to-new-ipad/" target="_hplink">Current languages supported by dictation</a> include U.S., U.K. and Australian English as well as Japanese, French and German.

  • Familiar Look

    While the new iPad offers quite a bit more than the iPad 2 in terms of display, hardware, and connectivity, the outside remains almost identical to its predecessor, measuring 9.5 x 7.31 inches. As expected, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/ipad-3-iphone-5-charger-dock-apple-rumors_n_1304388.html" target="_hplink">the biggest difference between the updated Apple tablet and its predecessor is its thickness...</a>

  • A Bit More Heft

    Compared to the .34 inch iPad 2, the new iPad measures .37 inches deep, <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">according to Apple's website</a>. In addition, the new iPad has .11 pounds on the iPad 2, weighing in at 1.44 lbs. The 4G version of the new iPad is even heavier, weighing in at a whopping 1.46 lbs.

  • Upgraded Photo Tools

    <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/new-ipad-vs-ipad-2/" target="_hplink">The new iPad boasts 5-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera that shoots 1,080p HD video.</a> The iPad 2's rear camera was only .7-megapixels <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">and recorded video in a paltry 720p.</a> <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/iphoto-on-ipad/" target="_hplink">iPhoto</a>, Apple's photo-editing software, is now available for the iPad. The app can be used for editing, effects, beaming photos between devices and sending finished products to iCloud or social networking accounts. The app also lets users create photo journals, digital scrapbooks into which users can insert maps, notes and weather widgets. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57392601-1/apple-launches-ipad-app-for-iphoto-updates-others/" target="_hplink">The new iPhoto app costs $4.99 and is available today. </a>

  • Personal Hotspot

    The 4G version of the new iPad also comes with a feature called Personal Hotspot, which "can be used to share the fast network connection on your iPad with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB," <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/03/07Apple-Launches-New-iPad.html" target="_hplink">according to an Apple press release</a>. Currently, this feature is available only for Verizon customers.

  • Powerful Battery

    Even though the new features like Retina Display and 4G connectivity will be consuming a lot more juice, a larger, more powerful battery will keep the new tablet charged for the same amount of time as the previous model. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, had the following to say about the battery during Apple's Wednesday event (<a href="http://live.gdgt.com/live-apple-ipad-3-event-coverage/" target="_hplink">per GDGT</a>): "You may recall we claim 10 hours of battery life, and 9 hours on 3G. The new iPad delivers the same 10 hours of battery life, and 4G is 9 hours."

  • Price And Availability

    <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">The WiFi-only iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB then jumps to $599 for the 32GB and $699 for the 64GB.</a> The 4G version starts at $629 for 16GB and tops out at $829 for the 64GB version. The iPad is available for pre-order now <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/" target="_hplink">and will begin shipping on March 16. </a> [<strong>CORRECTION</strong>: An earlier version of this slideshow incorrectly listed the pricing of the WiFi-only iPad.]

  • New Apps

    Along with Apple's announcement of the new iPad came a league of updated apps that will put the device's Retina Display to good use. According to Engadget, <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/apple-ipad-3-liveblog/" target="_hplink">all of the stock apps have been updated,</a> optimized, and scaled up so text will automatically be rendered in high resolution. In addition to uniform updates, several native Apple apps also received new features. <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/03/07Apple-Completes-iLife-for-iOS-With-Introduction-of-iPhoto-Major-Updates-to-iMovie-GarageBand.html" target="_hplink">Garage Band, for example, will now allow you to save creations to and easily share them through iCloud.</a> Also, <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/165730/2012/03/apple_updates_imovie_garageband_iwork_for_ios.html" target="_hplink">according to MacWorld,</a> users will now be able to add an automatic string orchestra to their creations through the Smart Strings feature and fine-tune their recordings with Garage Band's Note Editor. Apple's updated iMovie app will feature more advanced editing tools and will enable sharing of videos in 1080p resolution to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Apple TV, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/7/2851783/apple-imovie-update/in/2615987" target="_hplink">The Verge reported.</a> The new iMovie will also let users cut trailers while recording video, take advantage of nine different genre templates, and incorporate custom soundtracks from famous composers. In addition to its own apps, Apple also introduced a new generation of apps made specifically with the new iPad's higher resolution and enhanced hardware capabilities in mind. According to Engadget, these apps <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/apple-reveals-next-generation-apps-for-the-new-ipad-infinity-bl/" target="_hplink">came courtesy of third-party developers </a> like game-maker Namco, which previewed its jet combat simulator SkyGamblers, and Epic Games, the developer behind popular role-playing sword-fighting game Infinity Blade and creator of the new Retina display-optimized Infinity Blade: Dungeons. In addition, 3-D design software manufacturer Autodesk showed off its Sketchbook app, which allows for a whole new level of sketch detail thanks to the new iPad's improved display.

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