Real iPad 2 lead times longer than Apple claimed

Those choosing to buy Apple's latest wonder-tablet from the comfort of their own home, rather than joining the eager queues already forming outside high-street stores ahead of tonight's launch, could be in for a longer wait than they'd bargained for.

While it's well-known that Apple is earmarking stock of the iPad 2 for its bricks-and-mortar customers, there has already been a certain amount of dismay at the company's two-to-three week lead time on on-line orders - but reports indicate that the wait could be up to a month.

James Luff, stage manager at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne and an eager iPad 2 customer, ordered his as soon as the on-line Apple Store would allow - finally completing the order at three o'clock this morning - and has received confirmation that a next-generation tablet will be winging its way to him. Unfortunately, it's going to take longer than three weeks.

"Just called Apple," he explained in a Twitter post this morning. "They have my order and estimated delivery is 27th April. Hardly 2 weeks, though."

With sales of the thinner, faster, shinier, lighter, iPad 2 expected to be brisk, as the Apple faithful rush to upgrade their last-generation iPads to the company's most recent release, that delay is likely to get worse before it gets better - even without accounting for possible component shortages caused by the ongoing Japan disaster.

The people queuing up might be cold, but there's one thing that's certain: they'll be getting an iPad 2 first.