Report: iPad to become available on March 26

— 6:00 AM on March 4, 2010

When he showed the iPad to the world for the first time in late January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised availability would follow a couple of months later. According to PC World, Apple will honor Jobs' promise, making the Wi-Fi-only version of the device available at its retail locations on March 26.

Although that prediction might elicit a "no duh," recent reports have cast doubt over Apple's ability to meet the iPad's release schedule. A March 1 analyst report quoted by AppleInsider said Hon Hai Precision Industry (a.k.a. Foxconn) had encountered an "unspecified production problem" that would severely limit the number of units available for the launch—perhaps enough for Apple to postpone the rollout by a month or so.

Now, however, PC World notes that both and Mac Rumors were tipped off about a March 26 release two days ago. The latter even expects Apple to schedule the retail debut at 6:00 PM, following in the footsteps of the original iPhone.

Apple will only release Wi-Fi-enabled versions of the iPad at first; prices will be $499, $599, and $699 for iPads with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage capacities, respectively. Variants of the device with 3G connectivity won't be out until a month later, and they'll cost $130 more at each capacity point.

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