It's official, the iPad is coming. Pre-orders have started. With that comes several factoids worth noting. Here's the wrap-up from the weekend and how Apple plans on getting these 'magical devices' into the hands of consumers ASAP...

Anytime Apple products get officially launched, the support articles go up on, and fanatics scour them for all sorts of new information. The biggest news from the last time you saw the iPad are actually pretty minor. The first is that the 'mute' button has been 'reassigned' as a hold button for screen rotation. It's a smart move. Imagine lounging on your couch or sitting sideways, and suddenly getting unintended screen rotations. That's frustrating for reading, browsing, working or anything else.

The second is that, if your iPad battery goes bad, or stops holding a 10-hour  charge, there isn't a battery replacement plan. There's just a "whole iPad" replacement plan. For whatever reason, the iPad is so complex that they won't just ship it out, pry it open and swap the battery. They'll actually send you a brand new one. The reason? No one is sure, but it's either cheaper, or the turnover for repair is longer than just giving the customer another iPad.

It comes, of course, with Apple's disclaimer:
You will receive a replacement iPad that will not contain any of your personal data. Before you submit your iPad for service, it is important to sync your iPad with iTunes to back up your contacts, calendars, email account settings, bookmarks, apps, etc. Apple is not responsible for the loss of information when servicing your iPad.
And how many pre-orders of the iPad has Apple gotten so far? Well, according to some sources, more than 5o,000 orders in just two hours. Apple also implemented a 2-per-customer, but that hasn't slowed the volume or demand. In order to prevent the 'camping-out' scenario that many people did with the original iPhone and other big-name Apple devices. It's a bummer, because this blogger planned on camping out and reporting on the iPad scene at his local mall. Instead, Apple has implemented a plan where you can pre-order your iPad from a specific store, and they'll let you know at what time you can come and pick it up. That's actually a pretty sane solution to this high demand.

But Apple might not be able to give everyone what they want on April 3rd. Some rumors speculate that there will be a delay as iPad demand may actually exceed the possibility to ship volume. Whispers on the 'net speculate that it may be a self-inflicted shortage, (a-la the Nintendo Wii) to hype up demand, but I think Apple genuinely wants users to have this as soon as possible.

And I'll let you know how great it is, when I have it, which hopefully, will be as soon as possible.

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