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Perhaps paying $900 for a place in line to buy a new iPad wasn't so crazy afterall. If you didn't buy an iPad this weekend, the prices are rising in auction sites. Apple stores across the U.S. sold out of iPad 2's this weekend (analysts estimate nearly 1 million units sold) a spot check of auctions on eBay show that demand is still climbing on the country's largest online auction site. Some analysts are calling the iPad 2 one of Apple's most successful product launches with the numbers "trumping" the original iPad's first weekend sales of around 300,000.

On Friday, the average price for the 16GB iPad, which retails at $499, was a little over $690. By today the average has gone up to more than $795 with some selling as high as $1,000 .This look at recent eBay prices is not entirely scientific: There were more than 2,500 completed auctions that a search for "iPad 2 16GB" showed. To get a trend, we looked at the last 10 sales of iPads (and not just cases or other accessories) on each day Friday through Monday and then averaged the result. (Call it a kind of closing price.)  And as you might expect when large retailers like Best Buy sold out of iPads, the auction price on eBay steadily increased. 

One factor probably driving the online auction market for iPad 2's is that this weekend's launch was only in the U.S. The launch in other countries is not scheduled until March 25, so the auction sites are the only way to buy one of the tablets outside the country.

In further good news for Apple, according to analysts at Piper Jaffray, who surveyed 236 iPad buyers in New York City and Minneapolis, around 70 percent of customers were first time iPad owners."If accurate, that means the iPad 2 is winning over customers who were previously on the fence or uninterested in the tablet market, which could be very good news for the iPad’s growth potential in 2011," comments Darrell Etherington at Gigaom.

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