iPad international launch postponed

April 14, 2010, 1:52 PM UTC

Apple attributes delay to strong U.S. demand; skeptics speculate about supply chain issues

Customers trying out the iPad. Photo: PED

Citing “surprisingly strong” demand for its new tablet computer, Apple (AAPL) announced Wednesday that it was postponing the overseas launch of the iPad by one month.

According to Apple, the company delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week and has taken a “large number” of pre-orders for the 3G models that ship later this month.

Apple claims demand for the device is “far higher” than it predicted, although it had never made public any unit sales predictions.

Several commentators are wondering aloud whether the company might be having supply chain issues. (See here and here.)

Before the iPad launched, reports attributed to Apple’s Asian suppliers suggested that the company had hit production snags that might reduce a planned build of 1 million iPads by April 3 to as few as 300,000. Apple was evidently able to build more than the smaller number, but it seems to have fallen short of the higher.

Apple closed Wednesday at $245.69, up 3.26 points (1.34%) to a new all-time high.

Below the fold: Apple’s statement in full.

“Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad™. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.

“Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10. We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far.”

Apple had initially planned to begin selling the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. before the end of April.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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