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iPad 2 shipping time cut to less than a week

Apple has cut the shipping time of the iPad 2 once again. Now the popular tablet device will be sent on its way between three and five days after an order is placed at its online store.

When the iPad 2 was released in March, initial stocks were snapped up quicker than you could say “What do you mean, you’ve already sold out?” Reports at the time suggested that up to as many as 2.6 million units may have been shifted in the first month alone.

Not surprisingly, within a very short time of the iPad 2 going on sale, the wait time shown on Apple’s online store jumped from the time it took to get your credit card out of your wallet to between four and five weeks, leaving many potential purchasers feeling more than a little frustrated.

Then in the latter half of April, the wait time was reduced to between one and two weeks. This came as something of a surprise as March’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan was thought to have put a squeeze on the supply of components for the iPad. On top of that, an explosion at a Foxconn factory, where the iPads are assembled, was also thought to have further complicated matters.

Despite all this, however, it seemed that the supply chain was hardly affected, and even the introduction of the iPad 2 in a number of other countries appeared to have little discernible effect on wait times at the online store, which for a long time remained at between one and two weeks.

This week that was slashed to between just three and five business days, suggesting that supply is finally catching up with demand. The new wait time showing on Apple’s US site refers to all 18 versions of the iPad 2 currently available. A cursory look at Apple’s online stores in Canada, the UK, China and Japan reveals the same shipping time. Barring some cataclysmic event, it’s likely that the shipping time will remain there or thereabouts – until the introduction of the iPad 3 (or the rumored iPad HD), of course.