Apple Pencil shortage causing prices to skyrocket

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Apple on Wedenesday, September 9, 2015, unveiled an iPad Pro. The new tablet device has a starting price of $799, with the optional purchase of an Apple Pencil, a low latency stylus that sells for an additonal $99.

By Hope King

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — People laughed when Apple unveiled the Apple Pencil, a stylus for the iPad Pro.

They also mocked the company for making a keyboard that looks and works like the one Microsoft makes for its Surface tablets.

But now, both are in short supply, and people are reselling them on eBay for as much as $650.

The new products were unveiled during a big event in September, and went on sale last Wednesday. Apple sold out online quickly, and there’s now a four to five week wait for them.

People are even stealing the Apple Pencil from demo stations in stores, according to reports on Reddit, Twitter, and blogs.

Apple declined to comment on any reported thefts.

“We have a limited supply of Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard in Apple Retail stores,” a company spokesman told CNNMoney. “Customers are very excited for iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard.”

The Apple Pencil costs $99 on Apple’s website, but they’re going for as much as $500 on eBay.

The same thing has been happening with the Smart Keyboard, which Apple sells for $169. Over at eBay, sellers are asking for anywhere between $200 and $650.

While the Smart Keyboard is out of stock, shoppers can still buy a different Logitech model that’s available in some Apple stores.

But online shipments for the Logitech version may take one or two weeks, according to Apple’s website.

Tumblr co-founder Marco Arment called the shortage “an embarrassing damper on the Pro launch.”

“My Apple Store got 20 Pencils yesterday. They let one guy buy all 20. Meanwhile, no in-store pickup, and online backordered 4–5 weeks,” he tweeted.

“The good news is that they’re apparently coming to the stores in quantity now. The eBay scalpers’ time to make any profit is VERY limited,” he added.

The Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard are designed to help turn the iPad Pro, Apple’s new large-form tablet, into a portable workstation for artists, designers, and serious notetakers.

When Apple introduced the new Apple Pencil stylus, the audience was shocked.

That’s because one of Steve Jobs’ most famous rants was about how much he hates styluses. And one of the first things Jobs did when coming back to Apple in 1997 was to kill the Newton, a tablet-like device that used a stylus.

“Who wants a stylus?” Jobs said while introducing the iPhone ten years later. “You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.”

To be fair, Jobs was discussing the tiny 3.5-inch iPhone back then. The new iPad is almost four times that size, so users can do much more with a stylus.

Apple says its stores will “continue to receive regular shipments and we encourage customers to visit Apple.com for online availability and delivery dates” of both products.

–Dave Goldman contributed to this story.

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