iPad Launches on April 3, Pre-Orders Begin March 12

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Clear your diaries, Apple Fanbois: the iPad will be available on April 3. That's a Saturday, so pack the kids off to granny's on Thursday and start queuing at the closest Apple Store. Only the Wi-Fi models will be available at first, but the 3G models will be available by the end of the month. You'll be able to pre-order them online from next Friday, March 12, or reserve a unit to pick up on the launch date. The rest of the world will have to wait until end of April, when all models will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.

Back in January, when Uncle Steve sat us down all cozy-like in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to show off his company's latest gadget, the accompanying press release said this. "The iPad will be available in late March worldwide." Technically, I suppose you could say that Apple hasn't deviated from this, although this week there was a lot of speculation that the iPad would launch on Friday March 26.

To add to the crazy rumor mill (ain't Apple launches always like this?) a couple of analysts claimed manufacturing delays were slowing production down. Between 200,000 and 300,000 units were being produced at present, although one, Vijay Rakesh, told investors that production would hit between 800,000 to a million by April. As ever, Apple refused to comment on the rumors.

So, if you think that the April 3 availability constitutes a delay, then perhaps there are problems at the iPad plant. Chances are, however, that you won't really give a hoot, as you know that in just four weeks and a day, you could have one of these shiny little mini-monsters in your paw.

Read more:

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