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Apple iPad online pre-orders are sold out

By Jeremy C. Owens, San Jose Mercury News –

SAN JOSE, Calif. — If you want to own the latest iteration of Apple Inc.’s popular iPad tablet computer on the first day it’s available, prepare to wait at an Apple Store — if you haven’t already ordered one online.

The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant confirmed over the weekend that it has run out of iPads available for pre-order on the Internet, with a message on Apple’s online store telling customers that it will be two to three weeks before an iPad will arrive.

“Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased,” Apple told USA Today. “Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”

Customers who ordered the new iPad online directly after it was announced last week at an event in San Francisco were told they would receive it Friday, the first day it will be released. But by the next day, customers buying certain models of the device were told the iPads would arrive March 19. By now, the wait is even longer.

The new iPad will include several improvements from the iPad 2, including a retina display with a resolution of 2038×1536 pixels; an A5X microchip with quad-core graphics; upgraded cameras with better sensors and the ability to shoot high-definition video; a voice dictation service; and 4G, or LTE, compatibility.

Lines are expected to be long at Apple’s retail locations Friday; Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts that Apple will sell 1 million iPads on Friday.

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