Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad debuted outside the U.S. on Friday, drawing
endless lines of eager consumers outside stores from Sydney to Tokyo, who were hoping to get their hands on the hot-selling tablet-style computer
that is still in short supply at home.
The iPad went on sale in nine countries--Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom--nearly two months after it launch
ed in the U.S on April 3. Since going on sale, it has had trouble keeping up with demand, forcing the company to push back the internationallaunch
by a month.
In Tokyo's hip Harajuku shopping district, hundreds of waiting
buyers--surrounded by swarms of flashing cameras and television crews--crowded into the flagship store of Softbank Corp. (9984.TO), the iPad's exclusive
Japanese wireless carrier
, when the doors opened at exactly 8:00 a.m. local time.
At the Apple store in the upscale Ginza neighborhood
, a reported 1,200 people lined up to be among the first to get an iPad, which ranges in price from 48,800 yen ($535) to 77,280 yen ($850). Japan's national morning television news programs carried live footage from the Softbank store showing lines of customers extending up the block, overwhelming
and crowding passing pedestrians.
'With the iPhone in my right hand and the iPad in my left hand, it's like having two guns blazing,' said Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son at a launch
Mr. Son aggressively courted Apple to be the exclusive
for the iPhone and the iPad.
The first person on line at the Softbank store, Kazuki Miura, a 38-year-old freelance writer
, said he's been waiting
outside since yesterday
. While he's had opportunities to fiddle
with iPads bought in the U.S., he says he has intentionally avoided all contact.
'I wanted to stay an iPad virgin,' said Mr. Miura, who bought a 3G version
of the iPad. 'I didn't want to ruin this moment today.'
At Sydney's famed Bondi neighborhood
, about 500 people queued overnight
in cold, rainy weather as construction
crews worked into the early hours racing to complete a new Apple store in time for the 8 a.m. iPad launch
. The crews finished with a couple hours to spare.
Neither Apple nor its partners have revealed how many iPads will be made available
in the Australia or Japan markets
'We're still really busy now,' said a Sydney Apple store employee, who asked not to be named, more than two hours after the launch
. 'At the rate they're walking out the door, we estimate
we're going to run out of stock here by 5 p.m.'
So far, the launch
of the iPad in the U.S. has been a bigger success than even Apple had expected. The Cupertino, Calif., company said in early May that it sold one million iPads in the first 28 days of sales, less than half the time it took to sell the same number iPhones when it launch
ed nearly three years ago.
In an earningsconference
call with analysts last month, Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, said that the demand for the iPad had 'shocked us,' adding that it was adding production capacity.
of 50 Apple stores in the U.S. by financial
service firm Piper Jaffray & Co. in mid-May found that about three-quarters of the stores were still sold out of iPads completely. The rest had Wi-Fi version
s, but no models with 3G service. Meanwhile, Apple's website says that all new iPad orders will take 7-10 days to ship.
金融服务公司Piper Jaffray & Co.在5月中旬对50家苹果专卖店的调查发现，仍有大约四分之三的专卖店iPad已告售罄。其余专卖店有Wi-Fi版，但没有一部3G版。苹果的网站也说，所有新的iPad订单都要等七到10天才能发货。
Tomoyasu Hirano, chief executive
of software developer Digitalstage Inc. and a well-known
technology guru in Japan, said he expects many people to wait on buying an iPad because it represents an entirely new product category
. He estimate
s that Apple may sell between 200,000 to 300,000 units in Japan for this year.
软件开发商Digitalstage Inc.首席执行长、日本科技界巨擘平野友康(Tomoyasu Hirano)说，他预计很多人会等着购买一部iPad，因为它是一种全新的产品种类。平野友康估计苹果今年可能会在日本卖出20万到30万部iPad。
'The real growth will probably have to wait until next year,' said Mr. Hirano.
that Apple will sell about 1.7 million iPads in the April to June quarter and five million for the year worldwide. 'The wildcard is whether they can produce more of them to meet demand because the demand is there,' said Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray.
分析人士估计，今年第二季度苹果将在全球售出约170万部iPad，来年售出500万部。券商Piper Jaffray分析师蒙斯特(Gene Munster)说，关键在于他们能不能提高产量来满足需求，因为需求是存在的。
Just as with the iPhone, overseas
markets are expected to comprise
share of overall iPad sales. Mr. Munster says that the U.S. likely contributes about a third of Apple's overall iPhone sales, with the rest coming from overseas
. He expects the iPad's relatively
low price to attract new international
consumers, who have wanted to buy Macintosh computer
s but haven't able to afford them.
Juro Osawa / Neil Sands