Friday, March 16, 2012, 08:25 am PT (11:25 am ET)
Walmart stock of new iPad limited to 16GB & 32GB Wi-Fi, 64GB AT&T LTE 4GIn a sign that Apple is rationing supply of the new iPad among third-party resellers, retailer Walmart is only carrying the 16- and 32-gigabyte Wi-Fi models at launch, along with the 64-gigabyte AT&T LTE 4G model.
A person familiar with Apple's inventory provided to Walmart indicated to AppleInsider that the nation's largest retail chain will only have three models available at launch, out of a total of 9 different models offered by Apple.
That means there are six configurations that Walmart will not be offering at launch: the 64-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only model, AT&T 4G LTE models in the 16- and 32-gigabyte capacities, and all capacities of the Verizon LTE 4G version.
The person gave no indication as to the supply of different color models of the new iPad, so presumably the three versions being sold at Walmart are available in both of the available black and white varieties.
Meanwhile, MacMall's retail stores in California and Chicago do have inventory available for Friday's launch. Customers are advised to call ahead and contact their local MacMall store to ensure the new iPad model they want is in stock.
From Apple's online store, orders of the new iPad are still advertised to take up to three weeks to ship. That applies to all models, capacities and colors available.
About 100 customers wait outside the Apple Store on Boston's Boylston Street. Photo via AppleInsider reader Roy.
If last year was any indication, it could take some time for availability of the new iPad to improve. After the launch of the iPad 2 in 2011, Apple's estimated shipping times lengthened to between four and five weeks, and didn't show signs of improvement until about three weeks later, in early April.
Walmart was one of a select number of retail partners with iPad availability at launch on Friday. In fact, its 24-hour stores were among the first to offer the new iPad, as the retail chain began sales at 12:01 a.m. local time.
Joining Walmart and Apple in selling the new iPad on launch day in the U.S. were Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam's Club and Target. In addition, the LTE-enabled models are available for purchase at Verizon and AT&T stores.