Apple will finally launch their iPad WiFi tablet on the 3rd of April in the United States, and by the end of the month in other markets.
We will soon find out if the Apple iPad tablet is the starting point for rapid expansion in this segment which market analysts have labelled multimedia tablets, with it being difficult to know for the time being whether devices of this nature will receive public approval or not.
Apple has announced that the WiFi version of their tablet will be available in the United States from the 3rd of April and the end of April for the 3G/WiFi model. Different versions of the iPad will also find their place on various markets by the end of April.
Pre-orders will open on the 12th of March in the United States for the WiFi and 3G/WiFi models. The prices have been known since the 27th of January, starting at 499 dollars with a top price of 829 dollars depending on the model and its storage capacity. Locally related pricing for other global markets will be released in April.
From fantasy to reality While the US version will have access to the iBookStore, with a catalogue of eBook’s being launched especially for the occasion, we still don’t know whether this will be available in other markets. Apple has indicated that the iBooks applications will be available on the US App Store from the 3rd of April, with it planned for release in other markets at a later date.
The iPad tablet will also profit from all 150 000 applications available on the App Store, while also having a dozen applications specially dedicated to the iPad. The multimedia content will remain accessible from the iTunes Store. Applications which have already been purchased for the iPhone and iPod Touch can also be reused on the iPad.
Numerous announcements about multimedia tablets have been released over the last few weeks, in all ranges and prices, and more are sure to follow. With their hardware/software/portal, Apple has the full end to end supply chain which will provide them with a competitive advantage, as what has already been seen with the iPhone.
The big unknown remains the public reaction in face of this new hardware type, and how it will be commercialized. In the United States, it is AT&T who will be responsible for the distribution of the 3G/WiFi version with adapted data plans either under contract or as pre-pay.
For the other markets, discussions are ongoing, with problems being linked to the data plans on offer, and the eventual saturation of mobile networks if the tablet proves itself to be a success. Market watchers instead believe that the device will be a more at home affair, notably connected to the WiFi.