After rumors suggested last week that Apple had "blacklisted" Best Buy from future iPad 2 shipments due to a sales dispute, Best Buy issued an official statement claiming that stores were holding non-reserved iPad 2 inventory for an upcoming promotion.
A corporate memo purportedly from Best Buy has outed details on the "upcoming promotion," which will reportedly take place on April 17, as noted by Engadget. According to the memo, "the iPad 2 will be featured on the front cover of the April 17 ad and because of this, the reserve order system will be turned back on on Sunday."
The ad will disclaim that there are "no rainchecks" on the iPad 2, although stores in Michigan and Ohio, which will have a minimum of three units, will offer Reserve Tickets in lieu of rainchecks.
As previously noted by Best Buy in last week's statement, reserve order fulfillment still takes top priority for any iPad 2 inventory that stores receive. After stores have sold through any additional inventory, they will begin taking reserve orders for the device.
"The reserve order system will be turned on for the entire week of the ad, possibly longer," the memo noted, adding that units should be held for customers for no longer than 48 hours.
The directive acknowledges that customer interest on Sunday will likely exceed available supply. "Corporate Support Teams know that many stores won't be in the optimal inventory situation or have available units to meet our customers' requests for this ad. It will be critical that stores have their current reservation(s) worked through and execute any new reservations effectively to take care of as many customers as possible."
Also of note, the memo states that Best Buy employees will be allowed to purchase the iPad 2.
Retail employees are discouraged from sending customers to other stores that show available inventory "since any inventory is most likely for reserves." Alternate store pick up options such as OMS and BestBuy.com will remain unavailable.
Best Buy was a launch partner for both the original iPad and the iPad 2. Last month, leaked photos, which showing that the first-generation iPad had been removed from the Best Buy inventory system on the eve of the iPad 2 unveiling, corroborated an exclusive report from AppleInsider that Apple would surprise with "near immediate availability" of the touchscreen tablet.
Apple has attracted crushing demand for the iPad 2, though supply has appeared to improve since the device's launch drew record lines in March. Estimated ship times for the iPad 2 on Apple's online store still stand at 2-3 weeks, down from the 4-5 week figure quoted throughout March.