iPad Slightly Delayed, Pre-Orders Start March 16

Originally slated to make their way to retail "in late March," the initial batch of iPads will now hit on April 3, maker Apple revealed today.

Pre-orders for the device and its 9.7" multi-touch display will kick off in Apple Retail Stores and the Apple Online Store next Friday, March 16.

In all, a total of six iPad models are due across April. As planned, the Wi-Fi models--16GB ($499), 32GB ($599), 64GB ($699)--will be the first to launch when they hit April 3.

Models supporting both Wi-Fi and 3G data transfer--16GB 3G ($629), 32GB 3G ($729), 65GB 3G ($829)--will then follow in late April, with AT&T offering two contract-less 3G data plans in the United States: 250MB at $14.99 a month or unlimited at $29.99.

All versions of the iPad will be compatible with the downloadable iPhone games and software available through the iTunes App Store--the iPad can display these programs in windows mode (original resolution) or full-screen (via pixel-doubling)--though various developers are already readying iPad-only Apps to take advantage of the hardware.

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