While scoring a Laser Stunt Chaser or Let's Rock Elmo for the kids, shoppers can now try to pick up an Apple iPad 2 at some Toys R Us outlets. According to reports Monday, the nation's top toy store is selling the iPad in 30 states, joining Best Buy, Target, Wal-mart, Radio Shack, Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Apple's own retail and online stores.
Despite a slew of competitors rushing into the market, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Motorola's Xoom, the iPad still leads the tablet market with more than 14 million sold in less than a year in 2010. That number could hit 60 million this year, with a million sold in the first month since launch of the iPad 2 in March.
Get It Where You Can
But what kind of self-respecting tech aficionado would wait on line next to girls buying Barbies to get an iPad?
"Right now, demand for the iPad is so keen that people would probably buy them at McDonald's if they were given the chance," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-It.
"Self-respect and tech enthusiasm seldom go hand in hand -- as people lining up hours or days ahead of a hot product launch attest," he said. Further, King noted, the rise of online sales compared to brick-and-mortar outlets "has taken the wind out of technological exclusivity. If Wal-Mart can sell the iPad, why not Toys R Us?"
Demand for the iPad 2 is outpacing supply, with shortages reported and a touchscreen shortage following the earthquake in Japan possibly hampering production goals. Because Apple has commissioned such a large share of the screens, one report said the release of Research In Motion's PlayBook had to be delayed as much as a year.
The heavy iPad 2 demand may have caused some red faces at electronics retailer Best Buy, which last week was reported to have held back daily sales of the iPad 2 in order to have sufficient supply for a heavily marketed promotion on Sunday. There was no apparent discount or incentive offered -- just having it in stock was enough of a selling point.
But customers told Apple Insider there weren't enough iPads to go around and many customers were put on waiting lists or allowed to leave a $100 deposit for orders.
Best Buy issued a statement last week denying published reports that the chain had fallen on Apple's bad side by holding back inventory. "Best Buy continues to receive iPad 2 inventory from Apple on a regular basis," the company told CrunchGear.
One reason the iPads are so hard to come by is the reseller boom. The New York Post and New York Times have both reported recently that hoarders are sending U.S. iPads to China, where they could be sold for hundreds of dollars above the suggested retail price.