iPad: uWait

If you’re a non-American waiting for the iPad, make yourself comfortable: the international release has been delayed for a month.

The official reason for the delay is that US demand has been so much higher than expected that it will take time to get extra stock ready for non-US orders. Apple reports that it delivered more than half a million iPads in the first week after release.

While that’s no doubt the main reason for the delay, there are a couple of other factors which might have played a part. One could be that Apple now wants to avoid having the international release coming at the same time as the US debut of the 3G version: if there are technical issues that arise with this version, it may be easier to sort them out while the audience is limited to the US.

Another possibility, which is admittedly dependent on your level of cynicism, is that Apple wants to buy more time before making overseas pricing decisions. If it concludes that the US figures will translate into international demand being higher than expected, it may be tempted to make overseas prices higher than it originally planned.

As it happens, Apple has announced that it won’t be releasing international pricing until it begins taking pre-orders on May 10.

There are some new details available for international users though: Vodafone has been confirmed as a mobile service provider in Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. There’ll be some competition in those four European countries as Orange will also be offering iPad plans, while the UK will have three plans on offer thanks to O2 striking a deal.

Those expecting a price war are likely to be out of luck: the iPhone is available on multiple networks in the UK but, while the breakdown of pricing varies, the total costs are suspiciously similar. Of course, that may be different with an unsubsidized device such as the iPad, and users will also have the option of choosing the carrier which offers the best coverage in their area. That may be particularly useful if European carriers follow AT&T’s lead in offering monthly deals with no long-term commitment.

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