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Retailers Bending Apple's Rules For iPad 2 Launch?

We've got reports coming in about third party stores in and around London selling the iPad before the 5PM; although they have not been delivering the tablets per se, they have according to some people we've talked to on the phone confirmed that a number of stores are saying they've out of stock already.

They have also been told that not all of the 12 stock keeping units (different colours, different storage capacity and different connectivity) are available. The 16GB Wi-Fi version, the cheapest of the lot, appears to be the most readily available.

In addition, Lee Jarvis reported on his website a few minutes ago live from Manchester's biggest shopping centre, Arndale, up north that there were NO stock left in the Apple store there.

One Apple fan, he said, has been waiting since 0630 and that Apple store staff started asking customers which iPad they intended to buy at 1536, more than nine hours later.

By 1613, people were actively prevented from joining the queue in front of the Apple store and two minutes later. An Apple spokesperson confirmed that there wasn't any more stock left.

We also called John Lewis to find out more about their stock levels and the lady on the phone declined to say how many iPad tablets would be allocated in per store; she also confirmed that it would be on a first come first serve basis and that only the black colour would be available.