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Tablets

Apple's iPad 2 tablet is imminent or delayed -- one of the two, anyway

The iPad 2 rumour mill is at full tilt this week, with separate reports today claiming that Apple's second-generation tablet is either about to be released, or has been delayed until the early summer.

The iPad 2 rumour mill is at full tilt this week, with separate reports today claiming that Apple's second-generation tablet is either about to be released, or has been delayed until the early summer.

First, the imminent launch speculation. 9 to 5 Mac explains that the first-gen iPad is starting to sell out at European retailers, with Carphone Warehouse out of 64GB Wi-Fi models and all 3G versions of the device. It also points to stock shortages at Ingram Micro, one of Apple's major resellers in Europe.

More fuel for the fire is provided by both Orange and T-Mobile here in the UK dropping the price at which they're selling first-generation 3G iPads, as TechRadar points out. The operators -- linked through their Everything Everywhere parent company -- are offering iPads for £99 on a 24-month contract, chopping £100 off the device's price. The move has the whiff of a stock-clearing exercise ahead of the debut of a new model in the coming weeks.

What if the iPad 2 is delayed, though? That's the prospect raised in a report by analyst firm Yuanta Securities, which claims there are "production bottlenecks" at Apple's Taiwanese manufacturer for the device. Businessweek has the details.

"Our checks suggest new issues are being encountered with the new production and it is taking time to resolve them," claims the research note. "As a number of Android 3.0 tablets are being launched in April and May, the delay in iPad 2 shipments may give the Android camp a brief window of opportunity."

Earlier this week, there were new rumours about the iPad 2's size and shape, after a leather case for the device emerged which implied tapered sides and a flat back, while confirming the existence of a front-facing camera.