Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is delaying international sales of the iPad by a month, citing the “surprisingly strong” demand for iPads in the U.S. The company says it delivered more than 500,000 iPads in the U.S. during its first week, but the “demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks.” Apple says it also has taken a “large” number of pre-orders for the 3G, which it already promised for late April delivery. The result: pre-sales are pushed back to May 10 with the launch at the end of the month.
Apple described the decision as “difficult” in a media advisory but the tone isn’t abject. A cynic might think the company was hoping to create a situation where demand outstripped supply but the truth may be the more mundane reason of inventory management. Apple said it sold some 300,000 WiFi-only iPads through the April 3 U,S. launch. Last Thursday, CEO Steve Jobs said the total stood at 450,000 and that retail partner Best Buy was sold out so about 50,000 were added by week’s end. That total covers “delivered” units.