When Apple announced the iPad a little over a month ago, it didn’t name a specific date that the much-anticipated device would be available, but said that it expected to kick off sales in late March. Turns out, at least in North America, that date was just a hair optimistic: Apple has just announced that North American sales of the Wi-Fi-only iPad will start on Saturday, April 3. Models with additional 3G connectivity will be available in “late April.”
“iPad is something completely new,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement. “We’re excited for customers to get their hands on this magical and revolutionary product and connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive, and fun way than ever before.”
Beginning March 12, customers will be able to pre-orders either the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models from Apple’s online store or reserve a Wi-Fi model that can be picked up at an Apple retail store on April 3.
Apple also says the iBooks applications and its new iBookstore will be available as a free download from the App Store when the iPad goes on sale April 3.
The iPad’s pricing remains unchanged: Wi-Fi models will be available for $499, $599, and $699 for versions with 16, 32, and 64 GB of storage, respectively. Models with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity from AT&T will be available in late April for $629, $729, and $829 for the same 16, 32, and 64 GB capacities.
Late April will also see the international availability of both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G versions of the iPad, with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK first in line. No pricing details or carrier partners have been announced, although Apple is expected to go with iPhone carrier partners in international markets…although in some cases that means multiple carriers may be duking it out for iPad exclusivity.