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Apple iPad hits SA ‚ iStores braced for rush

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After only being available via unofficial sources, the Apple iPad will officially be available in South Africa from tomorrow morning ‚ at significantly lower prices than previously anticipated. iStore outlets will have extra staff on duty to cope with an expected rush on stores, reports SEAN BACHER.

After much anticipation, the iPad is finally available in South Africa. It will be distributed from 28 January by the Core Group, official agents of Apple products (aside from the iPhone) in South Africa. The announcement came nine months after the iPad was released in the USA .

A Core Group spokesperson told Gadget this evening that the iPad will be available at all iStores around South Africa from tomorrow, as well as from selected Dion Wired and Incredible Connection stores.

‚We are expecting a huge demand over the weekend and so have increased staff members at all the iStores,‚ she says. She adds that customers buying the iPad from Dion Wired or Incredible Connection first need to check the Core Group’s web site for availability, as the iPad is only being sold at selected branches of these outlets.

‚Stock will sell out fast. To avoid disappointment, check our site first and get to the appropriate outlet early to avoid disappointment,‚ she says.

Strikingly evident on the Core website are prices previously unheard of in South Africa. The iPad 64GB model with 3G carries a recommended retail price of R7 599, considerably less than the pricetag when it was first made available by unofficial importers: R9 600 for the same model. Could this “great”” price be because the second version of the iPad will be launched soon and so Apple can’t sell the “”old”” iPad at a premium? Core’s response was that it could not confirm nor deny rumours about the launch of the second generation iPad, nor whether the significant price drop had anything to do with it.

‚All we can say is that the iPad is a great product to have today, and anybody who buys it will not look back,‚ the spokesperson said.

According to technology research company World Wide Worx, it was estimated last year that iPad sales in South Africa could potentially reach 50 000 if launched early this year and if the second generation were made available during 2011.

World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck says: ‚This estimate was derived from the fact that Apple sells around two iPads for every MacBook in the USA and local industry estimates are that 25 000 MacBooks are sold each year in South Africa.‚

– Visit Gadget tomorrow around mid-morning when we will run an interview with RJ van Spaandonk, MD of the Core Group,. about the iPad release in South Africa.

– For full pricing and availability details on the iPad, visit www.core.co.za.

– Read what Arthur Goldstuck had to say about the iPad last year by clicking here: The iPad is not the future, but what a great signpost

– You can follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @seanbacher

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