Microsoft's $499 version of Surface tablet faces three-week delay

The delays seem to suggest that Microsoft is generating strong sales of the device

Less than a day after pre-orders began for Microsoft's Surface with Windows RT tablet, new orders for the $499 model of the device face a shipping delay of up to three weeks.

The $499 Surface, with 32GB of storage, doesn't include Microsoft's Touch Cover, a touch-sensitive keyboard and trackpad that doubles as a screen protector. But it does offer more flexibility than pricier models with bundled Touch Covers.

Both the $599 (32GB) and $699 (64GB) Surface models come with a black Touch Cover, and Microsoft is still promising delivery by Oct. 26 for those models. If you want a different color cover, you must buy it separately for $120. That is also the case if you want a Type Cover, which has a mechanical keyboard; it is sold separately for $130.

In addition to online sales, Microsoft will sell Surface its own brick-and-mortar stores, but not at other retailers. Microsoft has big retail plans for the launch of Windows 8 and Surface, with 34 "pop-up" stores opening around the United States and Canada, and four new permanent locations on the way. In total, Microsoft should have 65 stores up and running across 27 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Some of the stores will have midnight launches for Surface on the 25th, while others will start selling the tablet on the 26th.

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