It's Real! Apple Taking Pre-Orders for iPad



After years of waiting and speculation, Apple unveiled its iPad tablet in late January. On Friday at 8:30 a.m., the company started taking pre-orders for the hotly anticipated gizmo. 

Visit Apple's Web site today and the company invites you to order the "magical and revolutionary product" at last. Order one today and it should be delivered on April 3rd (in the U.S., that is). Shipping is free -- at least for the time being -- and and orders are limited to two per customer.

If you don't want to wait for the mail to arrive, you can pick one up at the store, according to the Web site: "Reserve your iPad with Wi-Fi and we’ll have it ready and waiting for you when you come in to your favorite Apple Retail Store on April 3," the site reads. Translation: Brace for long lines and a sleepless night for the faithful outside popular stores in San Francisco and New York.

Clearly, Apple's expecting strong demand of its devices, which retail for between $499 and $829, depending on how much memory is installed and which types of wireless networks its capable of connecting to.

The release of the device was slightly delayed from Apple's original launch plans: When Apple unveiled the device Jan. 27, the company said the first iPads would reach the market in "late March."

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Apple did not specify why the tablet was slightly delayed, and an Apple representative did not immediately return a message last week. However, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek said this week that Apple might have to delay the launch because of an "unspecified production problem." 

Misek said Apple's Taiwan-based supplier, Hon Hai Precision, could be facing a production bottleneck or a shortage of components.

So will you buy one? Or is this latest Apple gadget just an oversize iPod Touch, and hardly a revolution? Let us know what you think, either in the comments or at via Twitter: @fxnscitech.

Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.