iPad, the state of the art reviewed

NOW that the iPhone 4 has been launched to much fanfare in this country, one question still remains - where on earth is the iPad?
Launched in April in the United States, the iPad has since sold in the millions, and in July, Apple announced official availability of the device in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.
Apple has struggled with keeping up with demand for the iPad since its launch, not only because demand itself was high, but also initially because the primary supplier of the iPad's high-quality S-IPS panel, LG Display, has been unable to produce the 1,024 x 768-pixel displays in quantities large enough to keep up with demand.
Nevertheless, by CEO Steve Jobs' own admission, Apple just can't produce them fast enough - no wonder, as the iPad has now taken the mantle of being the fastest-selling consumer electronics item in history (outside of smartphones), overtaking the previous king, the DVD player, according to financial analysts at Bernstein Research.

A colleague who visited an Apple reseller in Singapore recently, confirmed that the iPad is still selling briskly in the island nation - even though there are ready stocks for walk-in customers, these iPads move so quickly that the boxes do not go into the store room but are just stacked behind the cashier, ready to go.
The problem with official Malaysian availability of the iPad is probably down to the fact that Singapore is the central hub for Apple distribution in Asia - even countries like Hong Kong depend on stocks distributed from Singapore.
The continuing scarcity of stocks also means that Apple has not committed to any set date for availability in Malaysia and looking at the current brisk sales in Singapore, this may not happen for another month or two at least.
Local losses
So what does this mean on the local front where interest in the iPad is certainly high?
A local Apple reseller in Petaling Jaya, who would only comment on condition of anonymity, said that his store gets "hundreds of enquiries every day on when the iPad will be available here."
While the statement was made in a half-joking manner, the fact is that the reseller told us that his store has been experiencing brisk sales in third-party iPad accessories. Official Apple iPad accessories are not allowed to be sold until the iPad is officially available in the country.
He said that third-party iPad cases and other accessories are sold on an almost daily basis.
The reason for this is that a large number of Malaysians who are looking for an iPad have bought one on the grey market for an exorbitant price (often over RM2,000 for a 16GB WiFi model that should cost only about RM1,700).
Some have also simply bought it from stores in Singapore or elsewhere, which is not doing any favours to local Apple resellers, who are seeing a huge loss in potential sales.
A call to the local Apple service centre confirmed that while the iPad itself carries an international warranty, faulty iPads (no matter where they come from) have to be sent to the nearest Apple service centre in a country that officially carries the iPad - in this case, it would be Singapore.
We contacted Apple Singapore to get a clearer picture on an expected date for local availability but the only response was that Apple had no announcements to make at this time.
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