98% of U.S. Apple Retail Stores Out of Stock of Apple TV [Updated]
Last week, we noted that shortages of the Apple TV at third-party retailers had begun spreading to Apple itself, with a number of the company's own retail stores reporting that the set-top box was unavailable for immediate in-store pickup. With a part number for a product with the code name of "J33" and known to be the next-generation Apple TV also surfacing last week, it certainly appears that an update is imminent.
With Apple's iPad 3 media event now roughly 36 hours away and Apple also expected to unveil an updated Apple TV at the event, we've been watching as more and more Apple retail stores are running dry of the current model. By our most recent count, 98% of Apple's 246 U.S. stores are currently out of stock, leaving only four with the Apple TV available for immediate pickup during store hours:
A fifth store, the Valley Fair location in Santa Clara, California, was showing "in stock" status for the Apple TV just a few hours ago but is now simply listing the product as "unavailable for pickup".
For those retail stores currently out of stock, the earliest an online store order placed today could be available for pickup would be March 9, although some stores are quoting pickup dates as far out as March 15. These lead times are, however, fairly typical for out of stock products that need to be shipped to a store for pickup. But being so close to Wednesday's media event suggests that any orders would be filled with the new model.
Apple's U.S. online store does continue to show "in stock" availability for the Apple TV. Customers selecting free or 2 business day shipping are being quoted a delivery estimate of Thursday, March 8, while next-day shipping could see an arrival on Wednesday, March 7, the day of the event. It seems likely, however, that Apple would at this point also stall on shipping direct delivery orders until Wednesday's announcement.
A number of Apple's other online stores around the world are still quoting "in stock" status for the Apple TV, although some have slipped by a few days ahead of the event. Online stores in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom are currently showing 2-4 business days for shipping estimates, while those in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland are quoting 1-2 business days.
Rumors and speculation have suggested that Apple will be delivering a new, more powerful model of the Apple TV on Wednesday, offering support for 1080p video to complement the ultra-high resolution display on the new iPad. Apple may also roll out updated iTunes Store video content at the higher resolution.
Update: The San Francisco and San Luis Obispo stores are now also out of stock of the Apple TV, leaving only SoHo and South Hills Village with immediate availability of the device.
Update 2: With just over 13 hours to go until the media event, the SoHo store is now also out of stock of the Apple TV. Pittsburgh's South Hills Village store is now the only U.S. location with the current Apple TV in stock for immediate pickup ahead of the event.