Apple Store Open for iPad Orders

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 9:26 AM PDT
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Photos: Jobs Introduces Apple's iPhone 4

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SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Apple introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Gadget fanatics looking to add Apple's iPad to their toy chest can finally get their hands on ... a keyboard to put in an order for the device.

Apple started taking pre-orders for the sleek new device at 5:30 a.m. Friday. All the models will be available for pre-order and most will be sent out on April 3. The exception is the 3G model -- those won't ship until late April.

There's no real indication of how popular the iPad will be. With all its beauty and promise, it's lacking one pretty significant function -- it can't run Flash. So many web favorites like Hulu, Netflix and other sites will hit a dead end on the iPad.

The iPad is offered in three WiFi versions: the $499 16GB version, the $599 32GB version or the $699 64GB version. The three 3G models are $130 more, at $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB. The 3G models need an additional data plan from AT&T. You can pre-order at Apple's online store.

But without Flash, the question becomes, will tech-savvy users users want to shell out extra cash for the iPad so early in the game?

People shying away from the iPad may want to try a netbook, also known as a mini laptop. There are a variety of brands and prices, but decent netbooks running Windows 7 are available for about $300.With almost the same functionality of a laptop computer but with more portability, many people will likely opt for a mini.

And for those Apple loyalists who want a mini but don't want to use a Windows machine, there are plenty of resources that will walk you through a lesson on turning your Windows netbook into a "Hackintosh."

Are you buying an iPad? Let us know in the comments section. If not, tell us why and what you're using instead.

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