Dubai: The much-anticipated iPad will not be available at officially authorised retailers in the UAE until at least late summer.
Launched in April for US sales only, the iPad has sold more than one million units in the US market, but due to heavy demand, international sales were delayed by Apple.
Apple said in a statement that it will begin selling the iPad in nine countries starting May 28: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
Consumers in those countries can pre-order iPads online starting as soon as May 10, the firm said from its Cupertino, California, headquarters.
In July, a second round of international iPad releases will go forward, Apple said, in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.
However, no specific date has been set by Apple for the official UAE release, pushing the date to later this year.
So far in the US, Apple said it has "already sold over one million iPads and customers have downloaded over 12 million apps from the Apple Store as well as over 1.5 million ebooks from the new iBookstore."
Meanwhile, official retailers of Apple products in the UAE are urging customers to wait a little longer to purchase iPads that are sanctioned by Apple and backed up by full warranties.
The iSTYLE chain of stores that is authorised to resell Apple products said it is advising "customers to be patient and wait for the official launch of the iPad in the Middle East."
As reported in Gulf News, persons buying iPads from the UAE's grey market are not covered by warranty because the stores in which they purchase the items are not authorised Apple dealers.
"A number of consumers who purchased iPads in the UAE ahead of the product's official Middle East launch have approached iSTYLE to provide customer support and technical assistance," iSTYLE said in a statement.
Only for customers
"As a premium reseller of Apple products, iSTYLE is unable to service units purchased from grey marketeers, and will only be able to assist customers with iPads purchased in iSTYLE outlets across the region."
Hani Nehme, Business Development Manager of iSTYLE Middle East, said: "Since the launch of the iPad in the US, a significant number of units have become available for purchase in the region, ahead of the product's official launch in the Middle East.
"While we understand consumers' desire to purchase an iPad ahead of the official launch, we want to make sure that they understand that the help, support and assistance that they are used to receiving from iSTYLE will not be available to them if they have not purchased their iPad from our store."
He added: "We strongly urge consumers who have not yet purchased an iPad to wait until their official Middle East launch in order to benefit from the ongoing aftercare that is a key component in what makes Apple such a popular premium brand."
On May 3, Apple acknowledged that it sold its one millionth iPad, one month after its original launch domestically.
"One million iPads in 28 days — that's less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO said in a statement.
Apple touts versatility of iPad
A flood of new iPad sales may be a big sign that users want something handheld but larger than the traditional mobile phone platform.
In a statement on its website, Apple said the new "iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before. Users can browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad's revolutionary Multi-Touch user interface. iPad is 0.5 inches thin and weighs just 1.5 pounds — thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook— and delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.
"... Over 5,000 exciting new apps... for iPad that take advantage of its Multi-Touch user interface, large screen and high-quality graphics. iPad will run almost all of the more than 200,000 apps on the App Store..., including apps already purchased for your iPhone or iPod touch."
Have you bought an iPad? If yes, where did you purchase it from? Are you worried about the source being an unofficial channel?