Apple Inc. hasn't said how many of its new iPad 2 tablet computers it sold over the weekend, but an analyst estimates people snapped up between 400,000 and 500,000 of the gadgets on Friday, leading to nationwide shortages through the rest of the weekend.
Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note Sunday that he and his team made calls to 58 retailers including Apple stores, Target and Best Buy locations but was unable to find one with the iPad 2 in stock. Online, the wait time for an iPad 2 to ship is currently three to four weeks.
If Munster's estimate is correct, the iPad 2 had an even better debut than the first-generation tablet. When the first iPad went on sale in April 2010, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 on the first day.
Based on interviews with more than 200 people waiting in line to buy iPads in New York and Minneapolis, Munster found that the majority of iPad 2 buyers already have an iPhone but not a first-generation iPad. Nearly half of prospective buyers planned to get a model with the built-in cellular data connection.
Apple did not say how many iPads it sold over the weekend, nor did it confirm the retail shortages.
"Demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing," said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. "We are working hard to get iPad 2 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible."