iPad Preorders Ships Out On April 12

Some US customers who preordered Apple’s iPad tablet computer will have to wait a bit longer to get the device, as the company appears to be having a hard time keeping up with demand.

Apple initially promised to ship the touchscreen device to buyers on the official sales launch date of April 3, when the iPad will hit U.S. retail store shelves.

But the company may have sold out its initial inventory, as Apple’s website now promises a shipping date of April 12 for customers ordering the iPad.

Customers who placed their orders earlier this month will still get their devices by April 3, an Apple spokesman said.

The new April 12 shipping date indicates that the company has seen robust early demand for the iPad. Analysts have said that Apple is having some difficulty ramping up production due to issues in its supply chain, but that several hundred thousand iPads have already been preordered.

The iPad – which resembles a large iPhone with a 9.7-inch (25-cm) screen designed for Web surfing, games and media consumption – is Apple’s biggest product launch since the iPhone in 2007.

It goes on sale next Saturday in the United States, starting at $499 for the basic Wi-Fi model. The high-end model tops out at more than $800.

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