Apple: U.S. hogging iPads, rest of the world must wait

Apple delays international iPad launch, citing “far higher” than expected U.S. demand for tablet

To cope with much higher than expected U.S. demand, Apple says it will delay the iPad’s international launch until late May.

Apple announced on Wednesday it will delay releasing the iPad tablet internationally for a month, in a bid to cope with "far higher" than expected U.S. demand.

In a brief statement, the company repeated it had delivered over 500,000 of the touch tablets in the first week of availability in the U.S. That is much more than Apple expected and the demand "will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks."

Also see: Slate Wars: coming alternatives to Apple's iPad

Adding to the pressure is a "large number of pre-orders" for iPad 3G, which incorporates a cellular modem (the current model is Wi-Fi only) and is due out at the end of April.

"Faced with this surprisingly strong U.S. demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May," according to the company's statement. Apple acknowledged international customers will be disappointed "but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the U.S. thus far."

(Gobs of useful and useless apps have flooded the iPad market already.)

Count the Germans among the extremely disappointed. Yoni Hesler, Network World's iOnApple blogger, noted the Germans were "ga-ga" over the iPad, citing one report that claimed Apple Germany had ordered just 75,000 of the devices but now faces 250,000 pre-orders.

Even at this pace, it's not clear that iPad in the U.S. will quite meet the wildest of the wild sales projections leading up the delivery of the first machines on April 3. The quarterly and yearly projections by some analysts were simply "astonishing" as noted by our BuzzBlog editor, Paul McNamara.

One analyst predicted Apple would sell 600,000 to 700,000 iPads on the first day. In fact, it was about 300,000.

The numbers indicate the market is voting with its dollars. But criticisms remain about some of Apple's design and implementation decisions, such as the lack of multi-tasking for applications, the absence of a camera, and so on.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for "Network World." Twitter:


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