iPad to Launch in 9 More Countries

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Apple has announced that on July 23 the iPad will be available in nine more countries, but more accurately, eight countries and a special administrative zone.

On Friday, the iPad goes on sale in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong (China), Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore. While not all localities have announced pricing, the 16GB Wi-Fi model will cost 499 € in the new European countries and NZ$799 in New Zealand. If you can find one, that is.

Insatiable demand continues to hamper Apple from getting the “magical” into every pair of hands that wants one. For the U.S. and Europe, the Apple Store online currently shows a shipping delay of seven to ten days for all models. This has been the situation since the U.S. launch of the iPad in April, which ultimately forced the delay of the first international launch to late May for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

If it seems like a questionable business decision to launch the iPad in yet more countries when demand cannot be currently met, there may be hope for an increased supply. Everyone’s favorite Apple rumormonger in Taiwan, DigiTimes, reported earlier this month that iPad orders to manufacturers “surpassed two million units for July.”

On June 22, Apple announced the iPad had sold some three million units in 80 days, or roughly at the rate of about a million iPads per month. If production has been significantly increased, it seems possible that additional launch countries could be added even before shipping times showed improvement.

Hopefully we’ll find out tomorrow during Apple’s quarterly earnings report and conference call. I expect the company will announce as many as five million iPads sold to date. To put that number in perspective, sales estimates for all Windows Tablet PCs combined in 2010 range from three to five million.

While that’s good news for stockholders, as well as those interested in the success of the platform, for those residing in one of the countries launching on Friday, the advice remains the same. Get up early and get in line or be hitting refresh online at the Apple Store.

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