Apple exhausts supply of iPads for pre-order

Existing orders will still arrive Saturday; new orders won't ship until April 12

Apple has exhausted the supply of iPads slated to arrive at US customers' doorsteps this coming Saturday, according to the company's online store.

Starting early yesterday, Apple's store noted that pre-ordered iPads might not ship until April 12, more than a week after the tablet goes on sale. People who placed orders before the cut-off of March 27 will still receive their iPads next Saturday, April 3, an Apple sales representative said today.

Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12, when it also allowed customers to reserve the tablet for pickup at Apple retail stores. At the time, it promised to ship pre-ordered iPads so that they would arrive April 3.

Retails stores contacted by Computerworld said that they had also exhausted their supplies of iPads available for pick-up next Saturday. However, a salesperson at a Portland, Ore. store said that reserved iPads that are unclaimed by 3 p.m. local time would be put up for sale to walk-in customers.

iPad sales have been the target of substantial speculation since Apple started taking pre-orders three weeks ago. Investment blogger Daniel Tello has been using iPad order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity message board to estimate pre-sales . Last Friday, Tello updated his estimate to 240,000 units , a number that did not account for in-store reservations or bulk orders by businesses, schools and other organizations.

Only the WiFi-only models will go on sale April 3. The more expensive tablets that support both WiFi and 3G connectivity can be pre-ordered, but are not scheduled to ship until later this month, according to Apple's online store.

The WiFi iPad starts at $US499 with 16GB of flash storage, with prices up to $699 for a 64GB device. Models with both WiFi and 3G range from $629 to $829.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
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