iPod's a Tough Find For Holidays, WSJ Reports

The fourth-generation, 20 gigabyte iPod and a variety of iPod mini models appear to be in short supply in the U.S. for the Christmas buying season, according to a spot check of online and store-front retailers reported in Thursdayis Wall Street Journal. (subscription required)

The report said eBay.com, Amazon.com, Buy.com, national retailer Target Corp., and other retailers are "contending with what appears to be an immense demand for the gadget," and suggests that Apple is suffering from manufacturing and distribution problems in keeping up with demand.

How high a demand? "Itis right up there with the most highly demanded products Iive seen, and Iive been in this business since i87," said David Weisman, senior director of home merchandising at electronics retailer Crutchfield Corp.

"To try to meet the high demand, weire making and shipping iPods as fast as we can," Apple said in a statement to the WSJ. "So, if one store has run out, you may find iPods in another authorized iPod reseller."

Since it began offering them in October 2001, Apple has sold over 5.7 million iPods, more than a third of them in purchased in Appleis last reported fiscal fourth-quarter.