When the Apple iPad appeared on Apple's Australian website yesterday, it was quickly noted that the iBooks application was missing. And now the iPad is on the Apple UK site, also without iBooks. Even the UK promotional video is 45 seconds shorter than the US version because the entire iBooks section is missing, while the company's USA site now points out that "iBooks is available only in the U.S."
Although this is unlikely to be a permanent deficiency – digital rights and licensing issues delayed the international launch of the Amazon Kindle eBook reader and also affect online music & video sales – it's disappointing news for many potential UK buyers. However, it could also help explain why international sales of the 3G version aren't planned until this summer. Perhaps by then Apple hopes to have some kind of iBook agreement in place for non-US buyers… along with mobile network deals.