So Apple pulled its usual stunt today of being down for "updating" (it's getting old, no?) and returned with a pre-order page for the iPad. Will there be a stampede? You tell us...
For now the pre-ordering is US only which is smart because a) Apple treats the rest of the World with a certain distain, and b) it doesn't have a great deal of stock (600,000 is the current estimate).
Pricing comes in as expected ranging from $499 to $699 for a WiFi only model (these also lack GPS) and $629 to $829 for WiFi 3G. In GBP terms this means while you can get an entry level iPad for roughly the same price as a netbook (£329 for 16GB, WiFi only), $599 (32GB, WiFi only) - roughly £395 - is the lowest the majority are likely to opt for. At the other end of the scale 64GB with 3G is a hefty $829 (£547) and that's before accessories ($69 iPad keyboard dock, $39 case, $29 dock, $29 wall charger, $29 VGA adaptor, $69 wireless keyboard, etc) along with whatever premium we'll pay for being British.
On the plus side, I have worked out the target market for the iPad: old people. It's a coffee table device that is big enough not to strain ageing eyes (just don't mention the missing apps) and its lack of multi-tasking means technophobes shouldn't get confused.
The WiFi only iPad launches on 3 April in the US while the WiFi only and 3G models launch internationally in 'late April'. Check my full iPad guide for more information and remember: Apple is limiting pre-orders to two per customer. Think you can resist...?
In related news Apple Insider claims to have found evidence in the latest iPhone OS SDK that multi-tasking is being prepped for iPhone OS v4.0. Whether this will work across all generations (presumably the iPad will be included) is unknown and there is apparently a "long way to go" before it is ready (June, presumably). That said, this functionality is definitely needed before it becomes the iPhone's new copy & paste...