iPad global launch date confirmed by Apple

Image caption The iPad has 10 hours of battery life and a virtual keyboard

Apple has announced that its iPad tablet computer will go on sale in nine countries outside the US on 28 May.

The new markets are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

The cheapest model will retail at £429 in the UK. The same version in the US costs $499 (£337).

Part of the difference in price is due to British VAT and US sales tax. The same model before tax costs £37 ($55) more in the UK.

The consumer gadget was launched in the US domestic market on 3 April, but Apple had to delay deliveries to international consumers.

Apple says that since the device went on sale it has already sold more than 1m iPads in the US.

In the UK, the device will range in price from £429 for the entry-level model, to £699 for the maximum capacity 64GB model, which also has built-in access to third-generation (3G) mobile networks.

Customers will be able to pre-order the device in the different markets from 10 May.

Many other companies, including Dell, Nokia and Toshiba, are planning to release tablet computers in 2010.

On 4 May, Intel unveiled the family of chips it hopes will be used in tablet computers that will go on sale towards the end of the year.

The international launch comes after a challenging month for Apple.

In addition to iPad delivery delays, the US technology website Gizmodo published details of Apple's next generation iPhone.

Apple is known for keeping product announcements secret. The company immediately requested the return of the phone. Gizmodo complied with the request.

But after a police raid at the home of the editor of Gizmodo, Apple came in for criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which argued the website's journalists were simply disseminating newsworthy information.

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