Originally Posted by REC
Probably not, but I also think there were a couple factors to consider.
1. I don't think anybody, Apple or anyone, expected this kind of turnout for the launch. I live in Plano TX. This is no NYC or LA, but understand that it is higher tech and higher wage earning than the vast majority of the country. I went to the mall that evening to see how the Apple store was doing and see if they might have any iPad 2's on display. I figured, maybe... just maybe, 30, 40 people waiting in line- tops. Like I said this is no NYC flagship store, just some random Apple store. There were easily 500 people waiting in line, probably alot more than that, in a line that stretched all through the mall. It was insane for a v2 product launch. Security was out making sure things went smoothly. Something was up, something beyond and outside normal expectations.
2. Apple is a secretive company. It is their business to have secrecy to foster and build hype for consumer products. You want them to open things up, actually so did I. I wish I could've gone online and seen a list per store of inventory. It makes sense to do right? Except that it is not Apple's business to be open about every detail of its business, and I realize that. Frustrating as it is, you have to acknowledge that it is the right of a business to run itself as it sees fit, provided it is done within current laws. We have a choice.
So yeah, while I do think they could've done better, I don't think they 1. anticipated this kind of demand, it was insane and 2. it is not in Apple's DNA to be open about every detail, and we shouldn't expect them to be.
Consider for just a moment if the opposite had occurred, which is entirely probable (alternate universe time): Nobody wants the iPad2. It's not a real PC, doesn't have enough ports, doesn't run flash and its just a big expensive toy. Ok, Apple posts per-store inventory on their website for the launch to help people find iPad2's, except it turns out nobody wants them. Now its nothing but bad PR for the company: Any schmo reporter can look up online all the overstock iPad2's Apple has in the channel, how they totally misjudged things. Look at all the wasted silicon and glass they have sitting on their shelves. APPL would take a huuuuuuge tumble, the future of the company would come into question. If nobody wants the iPad, and the company was betting its future on this device, what kind of growth can they really expect?
If you were an APPL investor in this scenario, I think you'd be mighty pissed. What the hell was Apple thinking? Why would they be so public about their actual inventory numbers? In this respect posting that info publicly comes with risk, and is a big gamble to shareholders. Especially for a new product category only 1 year old, especially for something that has had unpredictable success and growth in just 9 months when most people, companies and analysts still don't fully understand what is going on.
But to summarize, no. I don't think it is the best Apple can do. I also don't think any of your suggestions quite work.
But look, the bottom line is there is simply way more demand for this product than Apple can produce. I'll get mine in a month or 2 whenever it actually becomes possible. Everyone just needs to take a chill pill and someday (probably around the iPad 5 =) Apple will be able to normalize the supply/demand chain... maybe.