Apple’s iPad could go on sale in SA within a matter of weeks. Core Group, Apple’s sole local distributor, has confirmed it is in talks with the US company about bringing the tablet computer to the country.
Core Group executive director Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk says the company has held “lengthy discussions” with Apple and that Core will distribute both versions of the iPad — the cellular-ready product and the Wi-Fi-only configuration — exclusively to the SA market.
It’s possible the device will be in retail stores in as a soon as “a few weeks” from now, Van Spaandonk says, though he adds that he can’t provide a specific timeframe yet. At most it will be a couple of months before it goes on sale.
Van Spaandonk says it’s too early to say how much the iPad will retail for in SA. It’s also not clear yet which retail outlets will stock the device. The retail strategy is being determined in consultation with Apple, he says.
If international experience is anything to go by, though, it’s unlikely the iPad will be available from a broad range of retailers. Rather, it’s likely to go on sale in specialist retail stores that already stock Apple products.
Van Spaandonk says no agreement has been reached yet with SA’s mobile operators wanting to sell the iPad.
This is in spite of a well-placed source in Vodacom saying this week that the iPad should be available through the cellular operator’s channels by the end of October.
A senior Vodacom procurement executive has begun telling the company’s customers that the iPad should be available in about two months from now.
Meanwhile, both Vodacom and MTN are believed to be gearing up to launch the iPhone 4, the latest version of Apple’s popular smartphone.
Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys recently confirmed, by way of a message posted on Twitter, that the iPhone 4 would be available from the operator by the end of September.
MTN is also strongly rumoured to be gearing up to launch the iPhone 4. Until now, Vodacom has had exclusivity on the iPhone in SA through its parent, the UK’s Vodafone.
MTN spokesman Bridget Bhengu says she is “not in a position” to respond to questions from TechCentral about the company’s plans to launch the iPhone.
“We are not at liberty to say anything,” she says. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral