iPad 2 supplies creep closer to demand

Apple now promises to ship new tablet within two to three weeks

Apple's supply of the iPad 2 edged closer to demand today as the company's online store showed a two-to-three week shipping delay.

That is an improvement on the three-to-four week delay between ordering and shipping that Apple was quoting customers last week.

All models of the iPad 2 now show availability in two to three weeks on the U.S. e-store, as well as the online stores for customers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Apple has had trouble keeping up with demand of the iPad 2, which rolled out in the U.S. early last month and started selling in more than two dozen other countries on March 25.

Last week, auction giant eBay released data caged from nearly 12,000 iPad 2 sales, saying that average selling prices were between 40% and 53% above list. Analysts attributed the high prices on eBay to overwhelming demand of the new tablet.

The March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the continued problems at one of the country's nuclear power plants, also drove some experts to speculate that the disasters have affected Apple's supply chain.

Apple sells the iPad 2 in the U.S. for between $499 and $699 for the Wi-Fi model, and between $629 and $829 for the Wi-Fi/3G version of the tablet.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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