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Apple is rushing to get the iPad 2 to customers quickly after it was announced but is running into problems. Now, online orders for the iPad 2 are facing shipping delays of four to five weeks — an unprecedented delay for a new Apple product.

Typically, Apple lets consumers preorder its new devices weeks in advance and has enough stock to deliver them on their release day. But this time around, Apple chose to make the iPad 2 available only a week after it was first announced.

It was clear Apple was having issues meeting its iPad 2 demand since it launched on March 11. Apple didn’t open up online orders for the iPad 2 until early on the morning of its launch day, and shipment times for those orders quickly jumped from three to five days to between two and three weeks. During its launch weekend, shipping times for online orders jumped again to three to four weeks.

Another contributing factor to the delays is that Apple is making the iPad 2 available in many more stores than the original iPad. In addition to Apple retail locations, the iPad 2 also launched at AT&T, Verizon, Wal-Mart and Target stores. Altogether, more than 10,000 stores will offer the tablet, including 236 Apple stores. Last year, Apple had only 221 Apple stores and 1,100 other stores to push the original iPad at launch.

It’s unclear how this stock shortage will affect sales of the iPad 2. One analyst has already projected that Apple sold close to 1 million units during its launch weekend. Apple may still manage to keep sales up by having the iPad 2 available in so many retail locations — of course, that looks to be at the expense of online iPad 2 availability.

Indeed, it appears that Apple is more concerned about getting iPad 2 stock into its stores than reducing online order delays. Some Apple stores reportedly opened early this morning specifically to sell more iPad 2s.

The big takeaway from this news is that you should be calling around your local Apple Stores if you want an iPad 2 as soon as possible. At this rate, online order delays will only increase.

Via 9to5 Mac

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