Non-US iPad users have gotten access to their iTunes App Stores a week early, giving them a peek at what to expect from the iPad apps selection, reports PCWorld. Limited to certain countries, Apple has revealed the iPad App Stores earlier than expected, for those that purchased their iPad through third party services, such as eBay or Craigslist.
While the iPads themselves won’t be officially available in these countries until later this month, those that were too anxious to wait for their nearby Apple stores to sell the popular tablet can now get a better idea of what to expect from their iPad App Store. In some ways, it’s a little surprise. In other ways, it’s a disheartening realization of Apple’s ongoing global fragmenting.
Those non-US iPad users will lose their already purchased apps if they sync with their country-specific iPad App Store, and certain US-specific apps won’t work at all. And the iPad book store won’t be available for non-US users for some time. While there’s sure to be a way around losing all one’s apps, it’s a roundabout process with an equally roundabout solution.
Part of the problem, if you want to look at it that way, is the instant success of the iPad device. With US sales of the tablet exceeding 1 million units in its first month, Apple had to delay the iPad’s release elsewhere in the world. That has prompted some to purchase their iPads on the “grey” market, leaving them in an operational limbo for actually utilizing their new devices.
It seems like a silly problem to have, but it very much indicates the ways in which the world has not shrunk. In many ways, global distribution of a product isn’t as easy as making it available in stores. A certain attention to each localized market is necessary, in addition to the other factors to consider for a worldwide marketing and sales campaign.
A good problem to have, sure. But failing to improve the process overall could open up the doors for Google and other companies, particularly as the mobile industry looks to expand at a quickening pace. While Apple’s control makes it slower to move, it also restricts consumers at multiple points of access, which can be wholly regulated by their location alone.
And the US isn’t immune to this process–AT&T is still the only company that is legally allowed to power the iPhone’s network, despite growing consumer demand and the availability of other phones through multiple carriers. Already Google has looked to break such a cycle, though its Nexus One initiative was somehow lost in the loftiness of such a goal. But Google isn’t one to back down, and neither is Apple. That leaves us still wondering how and when Apple will make its products more universally friendly, in the literal sense.