Analyst: iPad 2 Already Sold Out

Apple began selling its new iPad 2 at 5PM on Friday, March 11, and by Saturday it appears the company’s entire inventory of the multimedia tablet was already sold out. Every retailer Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster checked with over the weekend was out of stock, and he estimates between 400,000 and 500,000 units were sold, according to Fortune.

“We believe this shows Apple is expanding its base of iPad users, which is critical to maintaining its early lead in the growing tablet market,” Mr. Munster said. “As the user base grows Apple’s lead widens, and the company has a proven track record of building unmatched brand loyalty, which we believe will be a potent combination as the tablet market evolves.”

iPad 2Apple’s iPad 2: Good luck getting one

About half of the iPad 2 buying crowd were PC owners (49 percent), based on interviews Mr. Munster and his team conducted at Apple Stores in New York City and Minneapolis. In comparison, about 26 percent of the original iPad launch weekend buyers owned PCs.

The number of first time buyers was fairly high at 70 percent, and some 17 percent of iPad 2 buyers said they plan to use third-party apps and games on their device. During the original iPad launch only 9 percent of buyers said they planned to use third-party apps.

Nearly half (47 percent) of the opening weekend customers were buying 3G-capable iPad models, and 65 percent already owned an iPhone.

Shoppers hoping to avoid long waits in stores for iPads won’t have any better luck ordering online. Apple’s Web-based store showed a three week wait time only hours after opening up for iPad 2 sales early Friday morning, and that shipping delay had crept up four weeks by Monday morning.

Apple introduced the iPad 2 at a special media event earlier this month. The device includes a 9.7-inch display, front and rear-facing digital cameras, a dual-core 1GHz A5 processor, faster graphics, a built-in gyroscope, built-in Wi-Fi wireless network support, support for GSM and CDMA 3G wireless data networks, and is thinner than the original iPad.

Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at US$352.40, up 0.41 (0.14%).