Apple Delays International iPad Launch, While Israel Bans the Mobile Device
It is possible to be too successful for one's own good, and in the case of the Apple iPad, that is translating into a product shortage that will delay the worldwide launch of the much-hyped tablet.
Having delivered 500,000 devices in the first week of availability, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was forced this week to concede it cannot deliver enough to match worldwide demand.
"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," the company said in a statement.
As a result, Apple will postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. It will begin taking online pre-orders on May 10, when it will announce prices.
The iPad's Wi-Fi model went on sale on April 3 and sold out at retail in about a week. There had been rumors of a parts shortage delaying the launch that didn't materialize, but clearly Apple can't keep up with demand.
The iPad's 3G-capable model, which costs $130 more than the Wi-Fi-only model at the same storage capacity, is due at the end of the month. That might not be as taxing on Apple, as one analyst noted that two-thirds of iPad presales were for the Wi-Fi model.
Meanwhile, demand to keep up must be exacting quite a toll on the employees of Foxconn, Apple's manufacturing partner in China. The UK Telegraph reports that four Foxconn employees have attempted suicide in the past month, and one succeeded. All reported being under considerable stress.
iPad Banned in Israel
The iPad may be hot in the U.S., but in Israel, it's hot in another way. The daily publication Haaretz reports that the Communications Ministry has blocked the import of iPads to Israel, and the customs authority has been directed to confiscate them. Ben-Gurion International Airport now has 10 iPads sitting in a back room as a result.
The reason for the ban is that the ministry has not given the device categorical approval required for wireless devices and says the Wi-Fi used in the iPad is not compatible with Israeli standards. Israel uses lower-power Wi-Fi, similarly to Europe, so therefore, American Wi-Fi devices are not compatible, ministry officials argued.
Wi-Fi in the iPad has also been one of the few problem areas for American users, with some reporting spotty connection performance or signal losses. Apple has released some tips to help people fix the wireless performance.
Apple did not return requests for comment on the Foxconn incidents, Israel's policy or the foreign iPad rollout delay.