iPad's Global Debut Draws Fans, Festivities

The Apple iPad appears to be off to a strong start internationally as the device officially goes on sale Friday in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. Crowds are lining up at Apple Stores around the world, eager to get their hands on the new device. It's anybody's guess as to how many iPads will be sold outside the United States today; however, analysts expect total worldwide iPad sales, including U.S. numbers, to reach anywhere between 5 and 8 million units by the end of 2010.

Here's a quick look at some of the iPad hotspots across the world Friday:

United Kingdom

This video report from Recombu.com shows the lineup, or queue as they say in England, outside the Apple Store on Regent Street in London.

While the madding crowd waited for their chance to get into Apple's U.K. Flagship store, a few savvy shoppers sneaked into select local electronics stores that were also selling Apple's new gadget including retailer PC World (no relation).

Australia

It's already nighttime in Australia, and according to some reports the iPad is selling out fast at Apple retail stores down under. PCWorld Australia is advising its readers that most Apple Stores are probably sold out by now, and their best bet for getting an iPad is to visit authorized Apple resellers.

Apple is already offering an iPad availability tool for its Australian customers who want to check if the device is available before taking a trip to their local Apple shop. Cupertino has offered an iPhone availability checker in the past to U.S. customers, but has not added that functionality to its American Website for the iPad.

The video below shows an excited group of fans waiting outside an Apple Store in suburban Brisbane.

Japan

Perhaps the biggest iPad crowds so far on Frida could be found in gadget-obsessed Japan.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 19-year-old Takechiyo Yamanaka lined up on Wednesday at his local Apple Store hoping to be the first person in Japan to get the device. Yamanaka did this despite the fact that he'd reserved his iPad online three weeks ago.

Gizmodo Japan added to the festivities with its iPad headbands, letting users strap their new gadgets to their head. The gadget blog also offered iPhone headbands during launches of Apple's smartphone.

Check out the Tokyo lineup for the iPad in this clip from TV Asahi:

France

France may be the land of culture, music, and history, but Parisians at the Louvre on Friday were more interested in seeing Cupertino's masterpiece than those by Rembrandt or da Vinci.

Le Point, a French news magazine, took this video of people lining up at the Apple Store in the basement of the Louvre. Some people had lined up overnight to be among the first to get their hands on L'iPad.

Canada

At the time of this writing, Apple Stores across Canada were just starting to open up for business, but it's not clear how well Apple's iPad launch will fare north of the border. The Globe and Mail reports long lines in Montreal and Toronto, but some are wondering if cross-border shopping trips to the U.S. have already dampened Canadian launch numbers.

"For some people who really, really want the iPad, they probably already have it by now," Canadian Apple blogger Gary Ng recently told the Calgary Herald.

This short video shows the line at Toronto's Eaton Centre Friday morning:

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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