Although it’s going to hit Apple Store shelves a little later than everyone first thought, the Apple iPad will be released on April 3rd in the United States. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPad as the newest touch-screen device on January 27th, it was said that the first shipment of iPads would be received in late March. Apple did not give any specific reason when it was announced last Friday why the tablet computer is not coming out until April and all spokesmen for the company declined comment.
Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek told Yahoo News that Apple might have to delay or limit the quantities released at launch because of what was called an unspecified production problem. Misek said one of Apple’s suppliers based in Taiwan is probably facing a bottleneck production problem with a shortage of components. When asked to go on the record, Misek said he couldn’t elaborate on the production problem. He simply said Apple was taking “a very intelligent approach” by allocating more units to the United States and delaying overseas availability.
The analyst also stated that he does not expect the delay of the iPad to affect its sales during Apple’s fiscal third quarter, which will end in June. His estimates call for 550,000 iPads to be sold during that period and 1.2 million overall during the fiscal year. For 2011, he expected Apple to sell 3.5 million iPads.
Another analyst, Michael Gartenberg at Altimeter Group, expected the tablet to “resonate well” because consumers are already familiar with the iPhone and the iPod Touch. He told Yahoo News, “They’ve taught consumers about digital music, multi-touch screens, and video. It would surprise me if it didn’t sell 3 to 4 million units.”
Pricing for the iPad will be tiered based on hard drive size. In addition, you can have the option of accessing a 3G network for wireless internet wherever you have a cellular signal on the AT&T network. The 16 GB Wi-Fi model represents the baseline unit in the series and will cost $499, which is a little higher than the cost of a high-end iPod Touch. The 32 GB model is $599, while the 64 GB edition is $699. For those who want to have their iPad access the internet wherever they go, the 16 GB unit with built-in 3G capability will be $629, while the 32 GB model will be $729 and the top-end model of the series will be $829 for 64 GB of capacity.
The iPad is 9.56 inches high and 7.47 inches wide, while being just a half-inch thick. The Wi-Fi model weighs 1.5 pounds, while the Wi-Fi 3G model is 1.6 pounds. The 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlist glossy wide-screen comes complete with Multi-Touch display and the famed IPS technology. It runs at 1024×768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch. The screen also comes with fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating and has support to display multiple languages and characters simultaneously.
All iPads will have built-in Wi-Fi capability to join 802.11a/b/g/n networks as well as Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology. The processor is a specialized 1 GHz Apple A4 high-performance, low power system. There is also support for 1024×768 TV and video.
Natively, the iPad will allow you to view document types such as JPG, TIF, and GIF images as well as DOC and DOCX Microsoft Word documents. It has a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that will allow users up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Users can charge the iPad via a power adapter or through a USB connection to their computer system. Mac owners must have Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later along with iTunes 9.0 or later.
All models of the iPad will be available outside of the United States by late April.