Apple: Australian iPad launch delayed (again) to “end of May”

Apple fans who got their iPad direct from the USA now have an extra reason to grin – but it’s frowns all around if you were waiting for the promised Australian launch later this month.

Apple has announced it is pushing back the worldwide release of the iPad for one month to ‘late May’ – the exact date along with the pricing for the Wi-Fi and 3G models remains undisclosed (although the best guesstimate remains in the range of $649 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model all the way up to $1099 for the 64GB 3G build).

This is the second time Apple’s ‘magical’ iPad has suffered a not-so-magical delay – the company first promised the Wi-Fi models would be released in Australia in “late March” ahead of the 3G models to follow in “late April”.

But on March 6th Apple advised that both “iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in Australia in late April”.

Now we’re looking at late May although Apple Australia will start taking orders online Monday May 10th in readiness for what it expects will be exceptionally high demand.

Apple is citing that same demand in the US as the reason for the delayed global launch with sales already soaring past the 500000 mark in the first week.

“Demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks” Apple said in a statement.

“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.”

However given pre-launch rumours of delays in the iPad’s production schedule due to a manufacturing-related ‘bottleneck’ it’s also possible that Apple was also caught short on its initial projections of how many units contract manufacturer Foxconn could churn out each day so that extra time is needing to build up stock levels sufficient for the global launch.