The Apple iPad is going to hit store shelves this Saturday, and this device has been available for pre-order for several weeks. Apple now says that units pre-ordered today won’t be available on launch day, indicating that demand has exceeded supply.
Apple says that pre-orders placed today on its website will ship “by April 12”.
A Second Option: Best Buy
In addition to Apple’s own retail stores, the iPad is going to be available in most Best Buy locations on Saturday morning at 9 am.
Those who want an iPad on opening day but haven’t already pre-ordered or reserved one will likely find themselves waiting in line at a Best Buy or Apple store.
However, many potential customers will be waiting until the end of April regardless, because the launch on April 3 is only for the versions that depend entirely on Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet.
Versions that can access AT&T’s 3G network are scheduled for release in late next month — exactly when is not yet known.
Beating the Predictions?
In the past, tablet computers have not sold well. They have found a niche in some markets, but have had little widespread success. This has caused many people to question whether the Apple iPad will attract an audience. However, the rate at which customers are pre-ordering this device belies this skepticism.
Apple hasn’t announced how many units it had available from pre-order and reservations, but estimates are that it could be as many as 250,000. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predict that Apple will sell around 2.5 million iPads in the first three months its available, and about 6 million in 2010.
An Overview of the Apple iPad
The iPad is Apple’s answer to the popularity of netbooks. It has been designed for someone who wants more functionality than a smartphone, but also wants a device that’s more portable than a laptop.
As there is no built-in physical keyboard, when on the go, users will enter text on the 9.7-inch, 1024-by-768-pixel, capacitative touchscreen. Apple will also offer a Keyboard Dock for typing, plus the iPad will support the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard.
This tablet computer will run the iPhone OS on a 1 GHz processor, and come with a suite of software for browsing the Web, exchanging e-mail, and watching video, as well as a calendar and address book.
It will also be able to run third-party software written for the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as apps created specifically for this device.
In addition, the Apple iPad will be able to access the iTunes store to buy music, TV shows and movies, and games. A new iBooks app will let users buy and read books. This will feature titles from the New York Times Best Seller list.
The iPad is going to be 0.5 inches thick and weigh 1.5 pounds, and Apple promises a battery life of up to 10 hours.