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Apple rumored to begin retail iPad sales March 26


A new rumor suggests Apple store employees will get their first hands-on experience with the iPad and begin training on March 10, while consumers could be able to purchase one Friday, March 26.

Citing an unnamed Apple store manager in Souther California, Daryl Deino of The Examiner reported Tuesday evening that the definitive release date has not yet been determined, but the March 26 date is "very likely." As was announced at its unveiling, the 3G-enabled models will arrive about a month later.

And while employees will be trained starting March 10, commercials will allegedly begin to air on TV starting March 15. Those TV spots are expected to emphasize the e-book capabilities of the device.

Finally, the report claimed that those who camp out for the iPad will receive a "special gift."

If accurate, the report would suggest that an alleged "manufacturing bottleneck" will not delay the launch of Apple's new multi-touch device. However, initial supplies could still be constrained, as rumors of an "unspecified production problem" have surfaced from Apple's manufacturing partner, Foxconn.

Initial demand for the iPad is predicted to be strong, with most analysts on Wall Street forecasting first-year sales of between 1 million and 5 million.