For those eagle eyed and eager consumers looking to grab an iPad 2, purchasing internationally was an option that was worth considering, especially given that the rest of the world had to wait a little longer than US consumers. However, another small disparity seems to exist in the iPad 2 retail process, as it has been pointed out to us that Apple is allowing online reservations of iPad 2 in some Apple Stores beginning at 9pm the day prior to pick up. The question is, why wasn’t this done earlier and why wasn’t it allowed for all Apple Stores?
As an example, go to the webpage for the Apple Store in Regent Street, London and you will see a small box in the bottom left corner with the following text.
“Reserve an iPad after 9 pm for pickup the next day at your favourite Apple Retail Store. Reservations are based on availability. Shipments arrive regularly. Reserve Now”
However, if you then pay a visit to the webpage for the flagship Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, instead of an option to reserve an iPad 2, you are greeted with the following text.
“Get your new iPad at the Apple Retail Store and one of our Specialists will set it up just the way you want. iPad sales begin early at 8 a.m. Limit two per customer.”
It is therefore unclear why Apple decided to implement this policy in some Retail Stores, such as Paris and London, rather than others. One of the biggest complaints passed on to us was the fact that there was no online advance reservations system set-up, despite the fact that it had been done for the first generation iPad. The system worked very well then, so I’m not sure why Apple chose not to use it for the second generation model.
As Apple products become more and more popular, the demand in the first few days following a new product release is becoming much higher. Rather than long lines outside Stores, should Apple perhaps consider making online reservations mandatory for new products in the first few days of release. Their customer service is excellent, and this is one way which would improve the retail experience.