The wait is over for gadget freaks who absolutely must have the latest, greatest Apple device.

The iPad Air went on sale on Friday in 42 countries with eager fans from around the world posting YouTube videos of their success at landing the latest Apple gadget.

The device is Apple’s main bid to deflect competition in an increasingly crowded market for tablet computers with new offerings from Samsung, Microsoft and other makers appealing to buyers at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season.

Apple’s market share is down to 29.6 per cent compared to 40 per cent a year ago, according to research firm IDC, despite Apple selling a record 14 million iPads in the most recent quarter. At the same time Samsung’s share has grown from 12 per cent to 20 per cent.

The wide launch of the iPad Air saw it go on sale in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Apple sold 3 million iPads at the launch of the previous iPad last year, a debut which encompassed eight countries fewer than now, including key markets such as Japan and China.

The iPad Air is lighter, thinner and faster than its predecessor, with prices starting at around $500 for the 16GB version. A smaller version, the iPad Mini with Retina display, is set to go on sale later this month.

(This article was published on November 2, 2013)
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