A pair of inventory trackers, including one resurrected after Apple demanded it stop collecting data from its online store website, help buyers locate scarce Apple smartphones and tablets.
Apple-Tracker recently resurfaced at a new URL after the original was taken offline by its creator, Mordy Tikotzky, when Apple lawyers filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice, accusing the site of violating Apple's terms of service.
Tikotzky complied, saying on the site that he was "not really interested in picking a fight with Apple."
Later he posted the code he used to collect inventory status to GitHub, the popular repository.
Another product tracker has surfaced on Seaturtle.org, a website that supports sea turtle conservation. Its makers preempted questions about why the site hosted the tracker -- a tool that has nothing to do with sea turtles -- by saying, "We are Apple fanboys and we want to know when our favorite iPhone model will be available!"
Both browser-based tools show in-store availability of Apple's iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini with a Retina screen, three of the new products Apple's launched since September.
The iPad Mini is in the shortest supply, with even Apple CEO Tim Cook uncertain whether his company will build enough this quarter to satisfy demand. Supplies of the gold-colored iPhone 5S also are tight.
Spot checks by Computerworld on both the restored Apple-Tracker and the one on Seaturtle.org showed that they accurately displayed available models when compared to the selected Apple retail stores' own status after choosing an item and beginning an ordering process that would result in an in-store pickup.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.