Apple on Friday began accepting preorders for its multimedia iPad — both the Wi-Fi and 3G models — with reservations limited to two per customer and free hardware delivery on the April 3 launch date.
The iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB model with only Wi-Fi. The 32GB model costs $599 and the 64GB option runs $699. All three, if purchased via the Apple online store, will be delivered for free on April 3.
The models with both 3G and Wi-Fi carry a $130 premium, with the 16GB model costing $629, 32GB for $729 and 64GB for $829. Those models are due to ship in late April.
Apple noted if Saturday delivery is not available in a customer’s area, the iPad will be delivered on April 5.
The company also has an option to reserve the iPad for in-store pickup. The device will be available on April 3 at Apple’s retail stores from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The iPad also comes with complimentary telephone technical support for the first 90 days. The hardware, including the rechargeable battery and all accessories, carries a one year warranty. Coverage can be extended to two years with a $99 AppleCare protection plan.
Customers can also purchase accessories for the iPad, though shipping times are currently varied. The iPad Case, which runs $39, and the iPad Dock, for $29, are both expected to ship by April 3. The iPad Keyboard Dock is scheduled to ship in mid-April and costs $69.
The $29 iPad 10W USB Power Adapter ships in late April, while the $29 iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter ships by April 3. Finally, the Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic, which cost $79, ship within 24 hours.
The iPad box includes the device, a dock connector to USB cable, 10W USB Power Adapter, documentation, and a SIM eject tool with the 3G model. Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, while PC users can run Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or later. Both require iTunes 9.0 or later.
First announced in January, the iPad is Apple’s long-awaited tablet device. It runs a new version of the iPhone mobile operating system and employs the same multi-touch interface that made the device one of the best-selling smartphones in the world.
In addition to browsing the Web, listening to music and watching movies, the iPad can also be used to purchase and read books, magazines and newspapers which will be available through the iBookstore, part of the iBooks application available for download through the App Store.
The iPad is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds. It also reportedly delivers battery life of up to 10 hours. The device sports a 9.7-inch display and includes a 1GHz custom Apple-built A4 processor with the CPU and graphics on one chip.
The device has access to the App Store that has seen more than 140,000 applications released for the iPhone and iPod touch to date. Many of those applications will run on the iPad, though developers can write new, iPad-specific software for the hardware’s larger form factor. This week it was revealed that nearly 17,000 have been confirmed by developers to be compatible with the iPad. About 40 of those require the iPad 3G, which includes a GPS receiver.