Craving to get your hands on the iPad? Wait for a while as it will be still some time before it becomes available in the Indian market.

Experts also believe that the tablet will create a new user segment in India.

Unveiled in January, the iPad lets users browse the Web, read and send e-mail, share photos, watch videos, listen to music, play games, read e-books and much more. The 9.7 inch touchscreen tablet is just 0.5 inches thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds — thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook — and delivers battery life of up to 10 hours.

The product, touted as a device between smartphone and a laptop, was officially launched in the U.S. market on Saturday. Prices in the U.S. start at $499 and the most advanced model costs $829. But Indian customers who are eagerly waiting to try the “game-changing product”, as it is often called, will have to wait for some more time.

“iPad will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models in late April in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. International pricing will be announced in April. iPad will ship in additional countries later this year,” said an official release.

Industry observers in the U.S. believe the iPad could well outsell the Apple’s iPhone, launched in 2007, of which one million had been sold after 74 days on shop shelves.

However, considering the price-sensitive Indian market where consumers always look for a package product seeking maximum features in lowest possible amount, iPad may remain limited to the upper middle-class segment only.

According to technology experts, besides the great features iPad has constraints too like it cannot multitask, doesn’t have an external keyboard, disk drive or a USB drive.

The experts believe it would create a niche market for itself and emerge as a lifestyle product and not a mass product in India.

“This product will create a new class. But given the Indian market scenario, iPad it is not going to have a mass market. It will be a niche product ... it will be a lifestyle product ...,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, executive director KPMG, a consulting firm.

“To start with, it will have buyers who would like to experience it. It will create a class of its own. For a complete experience, one needs to have peripherals. But iPad doesn’t have an external keyboard, no USB drive and disk drive,” Mr. Tuteja told IANS.

Explaining further, Mr. Tuteja said the secret to iPad’s success lies in the applications.

“The product is not the game changer. It is the applications on it, that would change the game and may take away the need of carrying laptop,” Mr. Tuteja added.

Mahesh Uppal, a telecommunication expert, said: “It is a very powerful product. Once 3G (third generation) services are in place in Indian market, then it will be much better.”

After it was unveiled by Apple in January, iPad was stated to be the next big thing to hit the market after iPhone. Creating a new segment, the device tries to blend in best features of a laptop, smartphone, book reader and offers a number of other services.

Technology lovers in India are keenly waiting to experience the new age device.

Sudipto Roy, 31, who works in a multinational firm in Noida, said: “Since the day iPad was launched, I have been waiting for it. I can’t wait for months for its launch in India. I will ask my friend coming from U.S. next month.”

Meanwhile, Apple has already geared up to provide thousands of applications for iPad users.

The App Store, a service by Apple, on iPad lets people wirelessly browse, buy and download new applications from the world’s largest application store. iPad will run almost all of the more than 150,000 applications on the App Store, including applications already purchased for iPhone or iPod touch.

Developers are already creating new applications designed for iPad that take advantage of its multi-touch interface, large screen and high-quality graphics.

The new iBooks application for iPad includes Apple’s new iBookstore, where one can buy and read books on it. The iTunes store gives iPad users access to the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalogue of over 12 million songs, over 55,000 TV episodes and over 8,500 films including over 2,500 in stunning high definition.