Global iPad delay frustrates users as demand surges

Steve Dinneen
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THE global launch of Apple’s iPad slate computer has been delayed by more than a month, with the firm blaming high demand in the US.

The iPad was due to be released in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April, but the technology company said yesterday that will now be postponed until the end of May.

Since its launch the iPad has smashed most analysts’ expectations, shifting 300,000 units on its first day on sale and half a million in its first week.

The product is now expected to sell 1m units in the quarter ending June, and roughly 5m in 2010, though estimates vary. The tablet market, which several of Apple’s rivals have failed to break into, is expected to grow to as many as 50m units by 2014 according to some market forecasts.

The electronics giant has staked its reputation on the 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet, essentially a cross between a smartphone and a laptop.

However, the iPad’s launch was not a complete success for Apple. Reports began to circulate within hours of the device going on sale that the wireless reception for the iPad was far weaker than that on most of its laptops. Analysts say the format of the device makes it particularly difficult to fix such glitches and several buyers vowed to return the products until the issue has been resolved.

Vodafone, O2 and Orange all announced yesterday they will offer dedicated price plans for the device.

Apple announces its annual results next week.