Jason O'Grady, writing for ZDNet's The Apple Core, penned an incisive piece on the five ways that Apple screwed up the iPad 2 launch. I agree with every point. Usually, Apple has been very good on getting information to the huddled masses waiting for the next new iThingy, but this time the company side-stepped the issue and let everyone fend for themselves, to the liking of no one. Here's what Apple got wrong:
Not allowing pre-orders: Allowing potential customers to pre-order new products helps assure they can get the new stuff in their hands on day one. This time, not so much. There are plenty of reasons pre-orders might have been infeasible, including lack of inventory or a bad component delaying shipments. Still, in a perfect world, Apple should have taken the high road and allowed pre-orders, even if the number of units allocated was slim.
No availability tracker: Apple has been good about providing information on in-store availability of new products. In the past, the company has put up a page (it no longer exists), providing a grid of what stores had particular models. This prevented the stress of going to your store and coming up empty. If you were in a populated area, with a few Apple stores, you were given alternatives. This time, no such information was provided.