Brick-and-mortar retailers are probably going to be seeing huge crowds on March 11, starting at 5PM local time, for the iPad 2 launch. Online ordering leads to a current estimate of 2-3 weeks before the latest iteration of Apple’s “magical” device will ship (not arrive, ship).
Shortly after Apple opened online ordering, at 1AM PST, people were seeing 3-5 day shipping estimates. Apple’s estimates for delivery were March 18 – 25.
Fortunately for those willing to stand in line for an iPad 2, Apple has far more outlets selling the device than in 2010. Among those selling the iPad 2 in addition to Apple Stores are AT&T, Best Buy, Target, Verizon Wireless and Walmart, as well as select Apple Authorized Resellers.
The iPad 2 is really an incremental improvement over the iPad. Upgrades include a dual-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, a gyroscope, and improvements on size and weight. At 8.8mm thick, it is 33 percent slimmer than the iPad, and at just 1.35 pounds, it is lighter than the previous 1.5 pound iPad.
Pricing remains the same, at $499, $599, and $699 for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB wi-fi models, respectively. Adding in 3G support costs $130 more for each model. This year’s model includes both a CDMA and GSM version, and we earlier discussed which one might be right for you.
The iPad 2 is launching only in the U.S. on Friday, but on March 25 it will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. Just as in 2010, many more countries will see the iPad 2 after that, as it expands its reach globally.