Apple's 3G-enabled iPad will ship by May 7 for U.S. customers who purchase now, according to the company's Website. That's three days before Apple unveils pricing and opens preorders for the international version of the iPad, which the company says has been delayed due to high demand.
Those who preordered a 3G-enabled iPad soon after it initially became available, however, will still receive the device in its scheduled late-April timeframe. Apple recently e-mailed iPad 3G customers confirming that "your order will be shipped in late April as communicated at the time you placed your order."
Apple's WiFi-only iPad has been available in Apple Stores and Best Buy outlets since April 3.
Apple claimed in an April 14 statement that demand for the iPad is "far higher" than expected, exceeding its supply for "the next several weeks." The company also reported deliveries of 500,000 iPads during the device's first week of general release, surpassing the company's internal predictions. That followed an April 8 news conference at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters in which CEO Steve Jobs said about 600,000 iBooks and 3.5 million applications had been downloaded by iPad owners since the WiFi-only version's first day of release.
Apple could ship as many as 10 million iPads in 2010, according to a March 29 research note from Morgan Stanley, and sell around 2 million of those. "Near-term, we believe the iPad will target the sizable sub-$800 consumer notebook market, which equates to 30 million units in the United States and 120 million units globally," analyst Katy Huberty wrote.
Other analysis companies have suggested more optimistic sales numbers, with iSuppli predicting that Apple could sell as many as 7.1 million iPads in 2010.
That U.S. demand is likely shaping how Apple will proceed with the international launch.
"It's a matter of getting that perfect launch," Ian Blanton, a director at Tech Superpowers, an Apple care specialist and reseller with offices in Boston and London, told eWEEK on April 14. "You don't want to look like a fool-you want to hold off until you can fulfill a certain number of orders. After having the U.S. launch under their belt, everyone's going to expect them to have known [about potential demand] at this point."
The international version of the iPad could need some alterations from the U.S. version in order to meet some nations' regulations. By April 15, news had leaked that Israel was confiscating iPads at its customs points, with the country's Communications Ministry citing the device's supposed noncompliance with European wireless standards, which Israel follows. Those standards dictate that the power of the device's wireless signal be weaker than is customarily allowed by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.
"If you operate equipment in a frequency band which is different from the others that operate on that frequency band, then there will be interference," Nati Schubert, senior deputy director for the Communications Ministry, told the Associated Press on April 15. "Without regulation, you would have chaos."
Israel has apparently confiscated at least 10 iPads at this point and reportedly plans to hold them until the owners either leave the country or ship the devices home.