Five days into the U.S. debut of Apple's iPad 2, and there's been little let-up in demand. (Also see: Will debut sales of iPad 2 double those of original?) According to Apple Insider, "New shipments of the iPad 2 to some Apple stores around the country on Tuesday immediately sold out, raising questions for one analyst about how much inventory Apple will have available for next week's international launch." The analyst, Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, said stores were having trouble keeping iPad 2s in stock as some outlets continued to see lines and others were getting small shipments of the new tablet. Some, White wrote to investors, weren't getting any new iPad 2s. From Apple Insider: Given the limited availability and strong demand for the iPad 2 in the U.S. alone, White has questioned whether Apple will have enough supply for an international launch scheduled for March 25. The iPad 2 is set to launch in more than two dozen countries next Friday, though the Japanese launch has been delayed due to the recent earthquake disaster. I know it's just one analyst, but there can be little doubt that the debut of the iPad 2 in the U.S. was a spectacular success. If one of the results is that Apple has to delay launching its new tablet in some or all other countries because it doesn't have enough units to sell, that's certainly unfortunate (though hardly disastrous) for the consumers in those countries eager to buy the updated iPad. Then again, Apple might lose a few impatient international customers who buy another tablet instead. Granted, you probably could count them on one hand, but still, there's a cost to having such an incredibly popular product that you can't keep up with demand. And for now, that appears to be Apple's enviable cross to bear.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.