US Apple iPad launch slightly delayed to April 3

Apple introduces IpadThe much-anticipated iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc. will start hitting U.S. store shelves on April 3, slightly later than originally planned.

When Apple unveiled the device Jan. 27, the company said the first iPads would reach the market in “late March.”

Apple did not specify why the tablet is not coming out until April, and an Apple representative did not immediately return a message Friday. However, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek said this week that Apple might have to delay the launch because of an “unspecified production problem.” Misek said Apple’s Taiwan-based supplier, Hon Hai Precision, could be facing a production bottleneck or a shortage of components.

Investors shrugged off the delay, and Apple shares rose $4.59, or 2.2 percent, to $215.30 in premarket trading.

The first iPads will connect to Wi-Fi networks only and cost $499, $599 or $699, depending on the data storage capacity. More expensive versions that can connect to “3G” cellular networks and cost up to $829 are expected to go on sale in late April.

U.S. customers will be able to begin placing orders for both models from Apple’s Web site beginning on March 12.

Both models also will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. by late April. Other countries are expected to get the device later in the year, Apple said.

Apple says the touch-screen iPad will include 12 new applications designed especially for the device.

Source: The Associated Press