Apple has announced the release of the iPad tablet to New Zealand buyers.
The highly-anticipated device will be available on Friday, July 23 according to a press release from the company based in Cupertino, California.
Official New Zealand pricing was not announced in the release, however it is understood the Wi-Fi-only models would have a recommended retail price of $799 for 16GB, $979 for 32GB and $1149 for 64GB, and the Wi-Fi + 3G models would sell for $999 for 16GB, $1179 for 32GB and $1349 for 64GB.
The tablet had been available on TradeMe since shortly after its US release, with current auctions priced at up to $NZ1940.
The iPad features a 9.7-inch touch screen and has the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps. Users can browse the web, read and send email, watch high-definition videos, listen to music, play games and read e-books.
The tablet is thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook, Apple said.
All models of iPad will be available for purchase from authorised resellers, including the 3G models, but no pre-orders were announced.
The iPad is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US and has received mostly good reviews from critics.
New countries to be added to that list include Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.
Apple says it sold more than two million iPads in the two months following its release.
The company has enjoyed cult status for years, originating with its Mactintosh computer and re-invigorated by the iPod, iPhone and more recently the iPad.
However it has recently been stung by controversy over its new iPhone 4, having to give out free protective cases to buyers to prevent reception problems which saw the phone dropping calls when users held it in a particular way.
Last week, Apple's shares slipped four percent after a poor review from an influential consumer guide, Consumer Reports, added to mounting complaints over the phone's poor reception.
The review sparked widespread discussions over a possible recall of the phone which sold 1.7 million units in its first three days on shelves, although this was scotched by the company.
- with MICHAEL FOX, Stuff.co.nz, and NZPA