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IPad to hit USA stores on April 3

6 March 2010 413 views No Comment

Apple Inc said the first iPads will be in US stores on April 3 and hit nine international markets from Japan to theUnited Kingdom later in April.

The news sent shares of Apple surging as much as 3.8 percent to touch an all-time high of $218.69 on the Nasdaq, as analysts said the announcement eased the concerns of some investors that a manufacturing bottleneck could delay launch.

The 9.7-inch touchscreen iPad, which is designed to surf the Web, play video and games, and read digital books, is the most anticipated product launch from Apple since the iPhone in 2007.

Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the tablet in late January, but the company did not announce any international markets until Friday, when it said the tablet will go on sale in Australia, Canada, France,Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April.

“I think it eases concerns that were circulating about supply. There’s always so much speculation around a launch, and this alleviates those fears,” said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross, adding that the breadth of the international launch should reassure investors.

Cross expects the iPad eventually to be a major growth driver for Apple. She estimates the company will sell 4 million to 5 million units in the first year which will add $1 to earnings per share.

There has been some debate on how successful the much-hyped iPad really will be. While most agree that the device is well-designed and appealing to consumers, some analysts are not convinced there is enough demand in the unproven market for tablet computers.

The iPad will have to compete for consumer attention with a myriad of more established device categories, including smartphones, netbooks and dedicated e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle.

Apple said that an iBooks application for iPad — which will compete with the Kindle store — would be available as a free download on April 3.

Expected  Price : $499

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