Apple preps for global iPad 2 stockouts

Unable to fill U.S. orders, it will make the device unavailable in 25 more countries on Friday

Last week, for reasons I'd rather not examine too closely, I spent the better part of an hour waiting outside an Apple retail outlet in center city Philadelphia only to be told, 50 minutes before the store was scheduled to open, that its promised overnight shipment of iPad 2s had not arrived.

It was an early-morning scene that has been repeated nearly every day for the past 10 days at most of Apple's 236 U.S. retail stores. Yet despite this, and despite the fact that Apple's online store shows iPad shipping delays of 4 to 5 weeks, the company announced Tuesday that it's going ahead with the iPad 2's scheduled launch Friday in 25 more countries.

“We’re experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the US, and customers around the world have told us they can't wait to get their hands on it," said Steve Jobs in a prepared statement. "We appreciate everyone’s patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”

According to Apple's (aapl) press release, the iPad 2 will be available Friday in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

Just don't expect there to be enough units in stock for you to actually buy one.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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