Apple iPad launch a fizzer for provinces

By Peter Fowler -

After hyping up the launch of its iPad in New Zealand for Friday, Apple has ignored consumers in the provinces who are unable to purchase one either online or in stores.

Retailers in Hawke's Bay said they had received a memo from Apple saying the iPad was only available at selected stores in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown, despite the expectation it would be available throughout the country.

After calling all registered Apple resellers in Hastings and Napier, many said it could be months before the iPad was available in stores locally. The local retailers were directing people wanting to get the latest technology fix to Apple's online store, however inquiries revealed the iPad is also not available for sale on the internet in New Zealand

A sales representative at the New Zealand Apple telephone store, who was based in Austin Texas, said iPads would not be available for sale online or at the Apple telephone store in New Zealand until at least Monday.

The Texas-based salesperson said the iPads were available for sale in local stores in Hawke's Bay, of which he gave a list, and was directing consumers to go directly to those Apple resellers.

On calling him back and informing him no stores had any iPads in stock, he agreed the situation was "farcical" but when learning he was talking to a reporter, he said the only people authorised to speak publicly about the iPad launch was Apple corporate relations in the United States.

Attempts to contact Apple corporate relations in the United States have been unsuccessful.

Hawke's Bay retailers, many of whom are angry at being left out of the product launch but did not want to be named, said Apple was selectively choosing which stores to sell the iPads in.

"Apple hasn't allowed us to stock them," one disappointed shop floor retailer said.

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