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Thursday, March 11, 2010, 06:05 pm PT (09:05 pm ET)

Apple to accept U.S. iPad preorders starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern

Apple is set to take preorders for its highly anticipated iPad multimedia device Friday, and the company's Web site will begin accepting advance orders from customers at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, 5:30 a.m. Pacific.

Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reported Thursday that preorders for the Wi-Fi-only iPad will begin first-thing Friday morning. The Wi-Fi iPad is set to launch in the U.S. on April 3, with the 3G capable model coming later that month.

In addition, both the Wi-Fi and 3G models will be available in the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Japan, Span and Switzerland in late April.

The iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB model with Wi-Fi, going up to $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The models with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, compatible only with AT&T in the U.S., carry a $130 premium.

Apple introduced the iPad in late January and announced a 60-day launch window for the Wi-Fi model, and 90 day wait for the 3G option. The April 3 launch comes just a few days after that deadline.

Apple's marketing blitz for the iPad began on Sunday, when the company ran its very first TV advertisement for the product during the Academy Awards. The 30-second spot races through a variety of features as the song "There Goes My Love" by the Blue Van.

iPad