Apple iPad enters global market
The iPad went on sale in nine countries-Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.-nearly two months after it launched in the U.S on April 3. Since going on sale, Apple has had trouble keeping up with demand, forcing the company to push back the international launch by a month.
Analysts estimate that Apple will sell about 1.7 million iPads in the April-to-June quarter and five million for the year world-wide. "The wildcard is whether they can produce more of them to meet demand, because the demand is there," said Gene Munster, an Analyst for Piper Jaffray.
The global iPhone market is expected to comprise a significant share of overall iPad sales. Munster said that the U.S. likely contributes about a third of Apple's overall iPhone sales, with the rest coming from overseas.
In Tokyo's hip Harajuku shopping district Friday, hundreds of waiting buyers-surrounded by swarms of flashing cameras and television crews-crowded into the flagship store of Softbank, the iPad's exclusive Japanese wireless carrier, when the doors opened at exactly 8 a.m.
At the mobbed Apple store in central London, staff greeted each group of shoppers let into the store with loud cheers. Along with a local crowd, the event had drawn Apple fans from across northern Europe. Bryher Scoudan, a 59-year-old former journalist, had driven 300 miles from Cornwall to get in line at 5 a.m. Michael Eide, 47, who manages a software company, had flown in from Copenhagen to get a 64 gigabyte, 3G iPad. Ian Hanson, a 29-year-old pilot who lives in Paris, labored up the London store's staircase on crutches to snap up an iPad.
The buzz around the iPad propel Apple to over take Microsoft this week to become the world's most valuable technology stock, marking a remarkable turnaround of a company that nearly went out of business in the 1990s.
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