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Apple TV stock shortage sparks new gadget rumour fever

Rumoured supply cuts may signal a launch

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Apple is throttling back its supply of Apple TV boxes, says 9to5Mac, suggesting that Apple is discontinuing the old product line in advance of a big launch.

The launch, we assume, is Apple's hyped refreshed TV device.

9to5's source is a Best Buy employee who reckons his store is out of stock of Apple TVs for the first time in his experience - and he hasn't been able to order a new one for a customer:

Product was listed as “currently unavailable”. From prior experience, this usually is associated with a product that is being “discontinued”.

Several other American shops seem to be out of the product too - including Walmart, Target and Amazon.com. In Britain, the UK Apple store is still offering the Apple TV boxes for anyone who wants to blow £99 and so is Curry's/PC World.

Tesco's Direct is "temporarily out of stock" and the product was listed as out of stock from Comet. Amazon didn't have Apple TVs in stock either, estimating a 1-3 month delivery for the device, but it was available from third-party retailers on the site.

The big Apple launch coming up is the iPad 3, expected in the first week of March. Apple TV looks more likely to arrive in a matter of months rather than weeks as moles made a note in their diaries for April/May for the launch. Current cut backs on devices will mean a long wait for punters who haven't yet availed themselves of an Apple TV box but want their TV experience enhanced by Cupertino.

Unless of course it's a sign that the Apple TV is likely to pop out sooner than expected, or the March date is a double launch, or it's the same thing. Canadian telco sources who claimed to have seen the new product did describe it as a "giant iPad".

We've asked Apple for a comment, but we're not holding our breath. ®

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