Apple Opens Up iPad Sales

 

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As expected, Apple began taking non-U.S. pre-orders for iPad devices on Monday.  Anyone in France, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, or the United Kingdom can put in their order to receive the device on May 28th. In contrast to what happened in the United States, the 3G and regular Wi-Fi models will ship together. Some customers, like those in Canada, are facing restrictions of two orders per customer.

There’s no confirmation that it’s coming in iPhone OS 4.0, but printing features will debut on the iPad in due time.  For now, Apple isn’t just making money from the iPad sales, but also from the wide variety of apps that people can buy.  Right now, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers have been the big-ticket items in the store. The iWork apps are on track to bring in about $40 million in annual sales.

However, all is not rosy for Apple. Those in thee non-U.S. markets aren’t exactly happy over Apple bumping up the price. For example, people in the U.K. have to pay almost $150 more. Apple CEO Steve Jobs replied to the comments, stating that U.K. prices must by law include the VAT, which is 17.5%, while the U.S. price does not include that tax.

Another jab right in the heart of Apple’s PR machine was from none other than U.S. President Barack Obama. During a speech at Hampton University’s commencement, he did took at shot at the iPod and iPad: “And meanwhile, you’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”

Another nugget of unhappiness to land in Cupertino is that NPD is reporting that in the first quarter of 2010, Android-based phones outsold iPhones by a margin of 28% to 21%. The press release from NPD stated: “The Android operating system (OS) continued to shake up the U.S. mobile phone market in the first quarter (Q1) of 2010, moving past Apple to take the number-two position among smartphone operating systems. NPD’s wireless market research reveals that based on unit sales to consumers last quarter, the Android operating system moved into second position at 28 percent behind RIM’s OS (36 percent) and ahead of Apple’s OS (21 percent).”

Based on the NPD Group data, the Android is the only platform to gain ground, while all others have been losing market share. Many experts believe that the numbers have been skewed by cutthroat deals made by Verizon and other carriers.  But for now, we see that the Android-phones are beating the iPhone in sales handily. This means that the iPhone is in third place in the smartphone arena, behind Research in Motion (BlackBerry) and Motorola (Droid phones).

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