Anonymous reports from "inside sources" as well as an Apple Store manager in Southern California say the iPad will start arriving at Apple Stores for employees to "experience," starting as soon as March 10, according to a report on the Examiner
. The manager, who asked not to be named, also indicated that a retail launch of the new device will happen this month, possibly on March 26. Meanwhile, an Apple spokesman has denied reports that production problems will delay the launch, with suppliers also chiming in that they are on track to deliver up to 700,000 iPads this month.
Apple had been somewhat vague about the launch date at the product introduction, saying only that the WiFi-only models of the iPad would go on sale "in 60 days." Sixty days from the January 27th announcement would be March 28, which is a Sunday. A financial analyst, Peter Misek, reported on Monday
that his sources had told him that that production issues with Foxconn, the lead supplier for the iPad as well as the iPhone, would delay the planned launch of the new device. Apple moved quickly to squelch that rumor, with a spokesperson confirming that the iPad "would be available in late March." However, this statement leaves vague the question of where the new device will be available: Misek's report said that the launch would be limited to the US only. Foxconn told Taiwan-based DigiTimes
that the company "does not comment on market speculation," but its suppliers said that they were getting materials on schedule and that they expected to be able to deliver 600,000 - 700,000 iPads in March and a million in April, in line with Apple's earlier projections.
Examiner poster Daryl Deino, who writes the LA Gadgets Examiner
, said that iPads will be coming to Apple Stores early so that employees would have enough time to get used to the new device. On March 15th, according to an anonymous Apple Store manager, Apple will start airing television commercials for the iPad which will highlight the iBookstore and the device's e-reader capability. Then on March 26th, the first WiFi-enabled iPads will be sold at Apple Stores, with 3G models following in April or May.
The store manager also reportedly claimed, without explaining in any detail, that people who camp out for the launch will get a "special gift."
image via WIRED Gadget Lab