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Apple iPad has less than stellar launch

Crowds don’t compare to thousands that lined up in streets for iPhone’s 2007 debut

There is no official Middle East pricing and availability information confirmed as yet by local distributors Arab Business Machines.
There is no official Middle East pricing and availability information confirmed as yet by local distributors Arab Business Machines.
Pre-orders for the iPad were being accepted by mid-March.
Pre-orders for the iPad were being accepted by mid-March.
The iPad features a 9.7 inch touchscreen.
The iPad features a 9.7 inch touchscreen.
An optional keyboard converts the iPad into a desktop computer.
An optional keyboard converts the iPad into a desktop computer.
The iPad is being called a "magical and revolutionary" product.
The iPad is being called a "magical and revolutionary" product.
The iPad will be able to surf regular editions of websites, rather than mobile versions that are usually available to smartphones.
The iPad will be able to surf regular editions of websites, rather than mobile versions that are usually available to smartphones.
Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at a special event in January
Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at a special event in January

The Apple iPad has had a less than stellar launch compared to the iPhone's debut in 2007.

According to a Reuters report, only a "smattering of customers" lined up at stores in New York, Washington, Boston and San Francisco compared to the thousands that lined in streets when the much-hyped iPhone was launched a few years ago. It's being argued however that since pre-orders were being accepted for the gadget since mid-March, there was little reason for people to pick one up on Saturday.

The iPad, which starts at $499 (AED 1,800), was made available in the United Stated on Saturday for Wi-Fi models while the Wi-Fi + 3G models will only hit American shelves later this month.

In addition, the company revealed that all iPad models would also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in "late April".

While electronic retail stores in the Middle East are still awaiting shipments and an official launch date for the region, online retailers including Souq.com and AlShop.com are cashing in by accepting early orders for Wi-Fi models at comparatively higher prices. The 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad is being sold at AlShop.com for AED 2,779 but says delivery is possible only around April 20th, while the cheapest price for the same model being accepted by a seller on Souq.com is AED 2,200 with delivery promised before the 10th of April.

Arab Business Machines, the official  marketing arm and distributor of Apple products in the region, says there is no launch date or local pricing information confirmed as yet.

The iPad, which was first announced at a special event in San Francisco in January, is billed as a ‘magical and revolutionary product' that lets users experience the best of the web, multimedia and e-mail while on the go, and can use most of the 150,000 apps already available for the iPhone.

Gartner analyst George Shiffler recently predicted that Apple's iPad could drive total tablet sales for the year to as high as 10.5 million devices.

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