iPad 2 sells-out; Online delays now 3-4 weeks; International launch in peril?

Apple is yet to announce sales figures for the iPad 2's opening weekend, but all the signs point to huge demand for the second-generation tablet. According to Piper Jaffray analysts, the iPad 2 is completely sold out, with most stores polled having no stock by the end of Saturday, and no fresh deliveries in time for Sunday sales.

Meanwhile, online orders – which originally were listed as shipping in 3-5 working days – slipped to 2-3 weeks by the end of Friday alone. Now, Apple's online store lists 3-4 weeks before delivery.

Interestingly, Piper Jaffray's researchers found that around 70-percent of iPad 2 buyers were new to the iPad, with just under half hoping to pick up a 3G-enabled version. Admittedly, the analysts only spoke to 236 people, and don't appear to have taken into account which models stores ran out of first; the firm suggests greater interest in the 32GB and 64GB versions of the tablet than at the original iPad launch, though fails to mention that the 16GB iPad 2 was the first to sell out at many locations.

Apple is believed to have only shipped one third of the expected number of iPad 2 units to retailers, which led to severe shortages across the US and online. It remains to be seen whether that situation will be alleviated before the March 25 international release promised at the iPad 2 launch event, or if would-be buyers outside the US will have to wait longer than expected.