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Apple's iPad 2 now shipping in less than a week

Want an iPad 2? Apple's now shipping them out to customers in just a few days, down from the long wait times that followed the product's launch earlier this year.

These ship times haven't been seen since the wee hours following the late-night online launch of the iPad 2.
These ship times haven't been seen since the wee hours following the late-night online launch of the iPad 2. CNET

Apple's self-described "mother of all backlogs" with regard to iPad 2 supplies appears to have improved, with customers now being able to order one from the company and have it shipped out in less than a week.

Apple has 18 different variations of the tablet, accounting for color, capacity, and wireless networking options. All those variations are now listed on the company's online store as shipping in three to five business days. By comparison, the device is listed as "not available" on Best Buy's and Wal-Mart's online stores, while AT&T's online store lists availability of 5 to 10 days, and Apple authorized reseller MacMall posts a one- to two-week wait.

The shipping time improvement, which was picked up on by AppleInsider earlier today, comes almost exactly four months after the U.S. launch of the device. Just a few days after the release, Apple had to push its online store ship times all the way to four to five weeks.

Signs that Apple was getting closer to meeting demand began in late April, with the company making strides in bringing ship times from 3-4 weeks, down to 2-3 weeks, then 1-2 weeks, where it's held.

The iPad 2 is currently available in 46 countries, the most recent of which are Brazil, Russia, and the Ukraine. Demand for the first-generation product was so high after its U.S. launch that Apple originally had to delay its international rollout by a month to make more units. This time around, the only international delay was a release in Japan, which Apple put on hold following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the region back in early March.

The improvement in shipping estimates comes at a time when Apple is rumored to be nearing completion on a possible iPad 2 successor, or companion product to be released later this year. A report from Thisismynext yesterday claimed Apple was working on a model with a higher-resolution display that would be sold alongside the iPad 2, while a DigiTimes report from days earlier suggested the company was busy pulling up components for an all-out successor.