If you live outside the U.S. and you’ve managed to avoid the urge to pay too much for a resold unit bought in the States, you won’t have to wait too much longer before you can get your hands on some sweet, sweet iPad action. May 28 is the newly announced international availability date, but it won’t be a worldwide release.
Nine countries will get the iPad on the 28th, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. An additional nine will get it sometime in July, including Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore. Further release dates will be announced later.
Apple’s (s aapl) staged release means either that it planned on selling far fewer iPads than have gone out the door, or that negotiating deals regarding content licensing and 3G wireless provision is taking longer than expected. A third possibility is that Apple is just making countries wait in order to drive demand up, but at this point I would think demand is well-stoked in most areas.
Pricing for certain areas was also announced, including Europe, the U.K., Australia, and Canada U.K. prices start at £429/£499/£599 for the Wi-Fi only models, and £100 more each for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, making them £529/£599/£699 for the 16, 32, and 64GB models respectively.
In Europe, pricing will start at 499€ for the 16GB Wi-Fi, 599€ for the 32GB, and 699€ for the 64GB. Add 100€ to each for the Wi-Fi + 3G price of each model. Australia‘s pricing starts at AUS $629/$759/$879 for Wi-Fi models, and AUS$799/$928/$1049 for the Wi-Fi + 3G. All Australian prices include GST. In Canada, pricing for Wi-Fi models is CAD $549/$649/$749, and $679/$779/$879 for Wi-Fi + 3G.
All international launches will also be accompanied by launches of the official iBooks app, as well, which will be available on the 28th as a download from the App Store. This is great news, considering all of the preview pages for the iPad on international Apple sites had the iBooks app curiously absent, leading many to believe licensing issues were preventing its availability anywhere outside the U.S. The shipping delay due to hardware shortages might even have been a boon in this regard, giving Apple time to set up international licensing rights with publishers and writers.
Pre-orders are still set for Monday, May 10 for international customers, which is only a few days away, so start your engines. Let’s hope continued high demand for the iPad doesn’t throw this release schedule off the rails. No word yet on international data plan pricing, but that’s sure to follow in the coming days.
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Hot Topic: Apple’s iPad