San Francisco: After the new iPad goes on sale Friday in the US and nine other countries, Apple will make the tablet computer available in 25 additional countries a week later, mostly in Europe.
The new iPad is Apple's third version and sports a faster processing chip and a sharper screen. It works with a faster cellular network called 4G.
The countries getting the device on March 23 are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Besides the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, countries getting it Friday are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Sales begin at 8 am local time.
Apple has already stopped taking advance orders for Friday and said customers should expect a two- to three-week wait for purchases made Wednesday through its online store. That means those who haven't ordered yet have to visit a retail store in person if they want it on Friday. Lines are likely to form hours ahead of opening.
Apple said the iPad will be sold in the US at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, Target and Walmart, in addition to Apple's own stores. The basic iPad will retail for USD 499 to USD 699, depending on the amount of storage. Models capable of accessing the 4G cellular network will cost USD 629 to USD 829. Customers who want 4G models will have to choose either AT&T or Verizon Wireless in the US ahead of time.
The company will still sell the previous model, the iPad 2, for USD 100 off the old price. The basic model now costs USD 399 and the cellular version, working with 3G networks, costs USD 529.