iPad Available in U.S. on April 3

Yesterday, Apple announced that the Wi-Fi-only iPad will ship in the U.S. on April 3, the Wi-Fi + 3G version shipping in the U.S. later that month. The iPad will ship outside the U.S. in late April as well. Apple also announced that they will begin accepting pre-orders for both versions on March 12.

Peter Misek made waves early this week when he said that the iPad was delayed due to hardware issues. However, Peter Misek is the same analyst that said that Apple was going to reveal an iPhone for Verizon’s network at their January event. Obviously he was full of it with that prediction and I would guess he was with this one as well.

The iPad was said to be shipping 60 days after the announcement on January 27 but John Gruber has been told by a source of his that the delay was because the software just wasn’t going to be ready in time.

John Gruber regarding the delay:

My sources suggest that Misek is wrong. It was the software, not the hardware, that took a week or two longer to finish than they’d hoped. Nothing extraordinary or unusual, just the usual hard-to-predict timing of turning software that’s almost ready to ship into software that’s ready to ship. In the grand history of major OS release date slips, one week is pretty tame.

I completely agree.

But, this is about the time in the conversation where people mention that the iPad won’t be available outside the U.S. until the end of April. Apple did originally plan to ship the iPad internationally on day one but I believe that this delay didn’t have anything to do with manufacturing delays per se but instead because of higher than expected demand in the U.S.

I do think that Apple expected a high interest in the announcement but I don’t think they expected quite as many people to acutally plan on purchasing it. According to an RBC/ChangeWave survey (reported on by All Things Digital) the iPad is in higher demand than the iPhone was before its launch. I think Apple was caught a little off guard by these numbers, and therefore didn’t have the manufacturing capacity at a point where shipping it in and outside of the U.S. simultaneously was feasible. I’m sure they could have done it if they expected this type of demand, but the decision would have had to have been made weeks (or maybe even months) ago.