Apple released the new iPad Wednesday, and within two hours a frenzy to pre-order the tablet had broken the site Apple had set up to allow consumers to get on the list for one of the new iPads.
First, at about 3 p.m. EST visitors to the pre-order site were greeted with the following disheartening message: Http/1.1 Service Unavailable.
Then, Apple apparently got wind of the problem, and the Service Unavailable message was replaced with a just-as-useless Post-It image bearing the words We'll be back soon and a message stating that We are busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly.
In case you weren't deterred by the apparent inability of Apple to plan for the rabid frenzy of buying that was sure to follow the announcement of its new iPad (which observers expected would be called either iPad 3, iPad HD, or something better than just the new iPad), Apple does give you an alternative:
You can contact our telesales team at the following numbers, the pre-order site says in small print, and a list of phone numbers for Apple hockers from Deutschland to Malaysia follows. Guess Apple doesn't want to lose any customers on its biggest day thus far this year.
And as of 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, it seemed that Apple was having further difficulties, as visitors to the site were faced with no more than this dismal message: Oops! An error occurred, and a link to return to the previos page.
Twitter exploded with speculation and commentary about the site's shutdown in the face of rabid buyers, and the term Search Unavailable, even became a trending topic on the social media site at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Twitter user Christopher Herot summed up the sentiment with the following tweet: New iPad must be selling well - the online Apple store is completely broken now. Says 'Http/1.1 Service Unavailable' or 'We'll be back soon.'
Apple has not released a statement regarding the issue, and there is no word as to when the site will go back up, but the implication seems to be that the new iPad is going to be even more popular than anyone--even Apple itself--could have imagined.
Apple said Wednesday that it is re-positioning itself as a post-PC company, and the intense early interest in what it called the ultimate post-PC device, Apple's new iPad, seems to be a sign that such a move is a good one for Apple to take.