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Apple iPad frenzy spreads abroad; supply issues loom
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<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px ;" src="http://in.reuters.com/resources/r/?m=02&d=20100528&t=2&i=114412810&w=460&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=img-2010-05-28T161210Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_India-488664-5"/>Diehard fans mobbed Apple Inc stores in Asia and Europe as the iPad tablet computer went on sale outside the United States for the first time on Friday.

The device, a little smaller than a letter-size sheet and with a colour touchscreen, is designed for surfing the Web, watching movies and reading. It has been hailed by the publishing industry as a potential life-saver.

Apple has sold a million iPads in the United States since its April 3 debut, exceeding the most bullish pre-launch estimates. Demand was so heavy the company delayed the international launch by a month.

RBC Capital Markets estimated iPad's total shipments will reach 8.13 million units worldwide by the end of the year.

"I wanted to touch it as soon as possible. I felt real excitement when it was finally in my hands," said Takechiyo Yamanaka, 19, who had camped out in front of Tokyo's flagship Apple store from Wednesday evening to be the first in line.

"It's a bit of a gut decision, an emotional decision, because it's not really rationally justifiable," said Anna Kistner as she emerged from the Apple store in Munich, Germany with two iPads. "It's a lot of money."

The iPad is now on sale in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Britain, Japan and Australia, and will be on sale in Canada later on Friday.

Prices for the cheapest version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $617 in Britain.

The buzz around the iPad helped propel Apple past Microsoft this week to become the world's most valuable technology stock, marking a remarkable turnaround of a company that nearly went out of business in the 1990s.

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