Apple Puts iPad Up For Pre-Order; Shipping Begins April 3rd

Today's the day. And yes, by that we mean it's Friday. But also, Apple has a tempting offer for those wanting to jump on the (second) tablet PC bandwagon, as the iPad has just gone up for pre-order. Apple will arguably be first to market with one of these next-generation tablet PCs, and while we are not yet told whether a Tegra (or Tegra 2) chip is within, we do know that the custom build 1GHz Apple A4 CPU is capable of packing quite the punch.

The iPad isn't supposed to ship to U.S. customers until April 3rd, but Apple is enabling those who are ready to buy one sight-unseen to plop down their money early in hopes of snagging a first run unit. We've always been a little wary about buying a product from the first batch, but Apple has historically had great build quality. Well, aside from that recent iMac screen issue.

At any rate, both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G (AT&T) models are now available to pre-order, with prices set for $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB) and $699 (64GB) for the Wi-Fi only model and $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB) and $829 (64GB) for the Wi-Fi + 3G model. Another interesting thing to note is that Apple is limiting each customer to just 2 iPad pre-orders, presumably in an attempt to stop eBayers from stocking up and selling these for massive profits on release day.

We have to wonder if a device such as this is really ready for primetime given that iPhone OS 3.x will be included, and multi-tasking will not be supported. We would rather see a full blown, multi-tasking operating system onboard our tablet, but then again, Apple has a way of luring you in even if you have gripes about functionality. Are you biting into this Apple, or are you waiting to play with one first? Good luck with that as well, as we imagine the line to get your hands on one in early April will be excruciatingly long.