iPad iBooks will be US only at launch?

Apple Australia just became one of the first international sites to introduce the iPad to its pages. That gives us a pretty good indication of Apple's plans for a global launch: same "late March" ship for Wi-Fi only models and April for 3G models (carrier yet to be announced). Fine, but it's not what we see that has us intrigued so much as what's missing: the iBookstore and any indication of the iBooks app. This doesn't look like an oversight but rather its purposeful removal from any images or feature lists. Guess we shouldn't be too surprised; going back to the press release we see the following: "iBookstore will be available in the US at launch." Seems Apple meant to say, only in the US, eh? Rest easy Bezos, the iPad has a long way to go before it's any competition to the Kindle.

Update: Footnote on the bottom of the Apple Australia iPad site says "iBooks available in the US only." Evidence after the break.

Update 2: UK site is up sans iBooks which doesn't bode well for Europe considering it's the home for many of the world's top publishing houses. One sliver of hope was spotted in the iPad video promo that's footnoted with the following text: "iBooks available in U.S. and select countries." Hopefully soon rather than later. Screenshot after the break. [Thanks, Eytan D]

[Thanks, Robert S.]