Saturday, April 3, 2010

Apple iPad goes on sale for first time in US

Apple's iPad hits stores today amid fevered speculation over whether the gadget can meet expectations.

The iPad, which Apple chief executive Steve Jobs hopes will bridge a gap between smartphone and laptop, goes on sale across America from 9am.

Steve Jobs of Apple holding up the new iPadIndustry analysts and Wall Street are now waiting to see whether the touchscreen tablet will prove as successful and revolutionary as the company’s iPhone mobile and iPod music player.

The company has already received several hundred thousands in pre-orders and first-year sales are estimated to be between 4 million to 7 million.

Last night those wanting to be the first to buy the device started queuing outside a few of Apple's 200-plus US outlets. Queues were shorter than for the launch of the iPhone three years ago, as the iPad has been available to pre-order since last month.

The lightweight device, which features a 9.7 inch touchscreen, is an attempt to fuse the best qualities of laptops and smartphones. It allows owners to access the internet, play video games and view a range of media from films to magazines.

Pricing ranges from $499 for a short-range Wi-Fi model to more than $800 for a 3G-enabled version.

Apple’s stock has risen steadily since the iPad was launched to much fanfare in January.

However some commentators have critisced the device as an ‘oversized iPhone' lacking the processing power of a laptop and questioned whether it will be able to compete in either market.

Rival software giants Hewlett and Packard and Dell are also planning to launch tablet devices later this year.

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