UPDATE (03/12/10): Although the iPad is now available for pre-order, many readers are still unclear on some of the details found below. If you're vague on any of the details regarding pre-ordering, we suggest reviewing the Q&A below.
The long-awaited opportunity to pre-order the Apple iPad starts tomorrow. Although Apple announced over a week ago that iPad pre-ordering would begin on March 12th, 2010, Apple has been otherwise vague in the details they've volunteered. For those of you that plan to pre-order tomorrow, those details are likely very important.
What Apple did tell everyone in their press release was when the iPad would be available for pre-order on the 12th, and that both versions of the iPad (WiFi only and WiFi+3G) would be available for pre-order at that time. Following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding pre-ordering of the Apple iPad which Apple's press release, and other iPad information, failed to make clear.
What time on March 12th does pre-ordering begin?
Apple Media/PR Team has confirmed that iPad pre-ordering will be available as of 5:30 AM PDT (8:30 AM EDT).
Will my pre-ordered iPad arrive or ship on April 3rd?
Apple made a considerable effort to get the iPhone 3GS in the hands of pre-order customers on release day. It is likely that Apple intended to get all of the pre-ordered 3GS units in hands on release day, but were surprised by the volume and thus some pre-order customers received their phones well after release.
Numerous Apple representatives have confirmed that the situation for the iPad is the same. Apple intends that customers who pre-order the iPad will receive their iPad on April 3rd. The only thing that would prevent this from happening is an unexpected volume of pre-orders, and sales forecasts of the iPad are expected to be considerably lower than the iPhone, thus most -- if not all - pre-ordered iPads should land in their owner's hands on April 3rd.
UPDATE: Several readers have expressed concern over the April 3rd arrival date, being that it is a Saturday. Apple representatives have again confirmed that pre-ordered iPads will arrive on the 3rd, Saturday or not. There is no available information regarding whether these will be shipped through a single carrier that offers Saturday delivery (i.e. FedEx) or whether Apple will use multiple carriers.
Is a credit card required for pre-ordering/reserving an iPad?
A credit card is required only for shipped iPad pre-orders, if you are reserving for in-store pickup, you need only your Apple ID.
Will a pre-ordered iPad that I reserved for in-store pickup be in-store on April 3rd?
Yes, as with orders shipped directly to customers, iPad pre-orders that are reserved for in-store pickup will be available on April 3rd.
Is pre-ordering limited? Will only a certain number of customers be allowed to pre-order?
No, pre-ordering will not be limited. However, as mentioned above, if enough people pre-order, customers may not receive their pre-ordered iPad until after April 3rd.
UPDATE: Individual customers are limited to pre-ordering two (2) iPads.
Will my credit card be charged at the time I place the pre-order, or when my iPad ships?
Though Apple will collect your credit card/payment information when you place your pre-order (this is relevant to shipped orders, not in-store pickups), you won't be charged for your iPad until the iPad is ready to ship. This would indicate that you'd likely see a charge placed to your credit card 1-3 days before the iPad release date.
What is the cancellation policy on iPad pre-orders?
Those who pre-order the iPad are free to cancel the iPad at any time before the item ships by calling Apple customer service.
What is the return policy on pre-ordered iPads?
For those of you who receive their iPad, you have 14 days from the purchase date to return your iPad. Open boxes will be charged a 10% restocking fee. It is important to note that your purchase date is not the date you receive your iPad, but is the date that your credit card is charged.
Is there an exact release date for WiFi+3G iPad models yet?
No, unfortunately not. The official word from Apple on when the iPad WiFi+3G models will be available remains "late April".
All of the above details have been gathered through discussions with Apple's Online iPad Sales Team. Any information included in this article was verified by numerous different members of the sales team.
If you're ready to pre-order the Apple iPad, head to the Apple Online Store to complete your pre-order (once March 12th rolls around, that is).