Genuine delay or once again brilliant marketing...?
Apple has today announced it will not be able to meet its original target of an iPad international launch by the end of April. In a statement it said:
Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.
Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10. We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason-the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far.
While I'm not sure the last sentence could be any more smug, I am cynical about this move. Why? Because while 500,000 units is an enormous amount, it isn't actually any greater than recent generations of iPhone and US reports say store stock is plentiful. Furthermore Apple made a huge deal during its launch keynote out of how the iPad was priced so aggressively in order to take on netbooks and appeal to the mass market. This is a much larger sector than the high end smartphone space occupied by the iPhone.
So, while not meaning to stamp all over Apple's remarkable sales figures for a product I still can't work out the use for, the company either a) grossly messed up its production run, or b) is looking to build further hype after the iPad received mixed reviews.
"Oh Gordon!" I hear you cry "Surely Apple wouldn't sacrifice a week of sales just to build hype?" To which I'd counter: the company needlessly takes its online stores offline for hours at a time throughout the year just to update product ranges, doesn't it...?
Still, don't be sad. This means less waiting time for iPad multi-tasking...