Ship Date for New iPad Orders Slips

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Facts, supposition, and rumors swirl around the iPad as the April 3 launch nears, the biggest news being Apple has pushed back ship dates for new orders.

As of Saturday, all new orders of Wi-Fi iPads show a ship date of April 12, and the option to reserve a Wi-Fi iPad for local Apple Store pickup has been discontinued. 3G iPads continue to show late April for shipping. Curiously, 9to5Mac has reports of Apple charging credit cards for both the Wi-Fi and 3G iPads, but those remain unsubstantiated rumors.

More substantiated are multiple reports that Best Buy will have a few iPads on April 3. TUAW reports that approximately 675 Best Buys will have just 15 iPads per store on April 3, with an additional 15 possibly coming the following week.

At this point it seems like Apple could be looking at an iPad sellout launch weekend, but what does that mean for you?

If you are a doubter, you might point to everyone’s favorite Asian Apple rumor site passing itself off as a newspaper. According to DigiTimes, Apple has been forced to switch its supplier of touch panels from TPK to Wintek. Of course, last month DigiTimes was blaming Wintek for the iPad launch being delayed until April.

Moving from wild rumors to educated guesses, Apple 2.0 has been following sales estimates from the AAPL Sanity Board at Investor Village. By tracking order numbers submitted by e-mail and accounting for other purchases, the estimated count for pre-orders is now 240,000. That number does not include in-store reservations, educational, and enterprise orders, but Boy Genius Report supposedly had a contact reporting 150,000 iPads reserved for pickup as of March 15.

Regardless of the pre-orders numbers, the slip in ship date by Apple makes it apparent the company is selling every iPad it can make. While that’s good for Apple, it’s bad news for those who haven’t ordered one yet. If you want a Wi-Fi iPad on April 3, your best bet is Best Buy in the morning and an Apple Store in the afternoon. Those who reserved an iPad at an Apple Store have until 3:00 to pick them up, or the units will be returned to the shelves, or more likely to the next person waiting in the “magical” line.

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