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Apple says new iPad orders won't ship till April 12th

With the iPad standing as arguably the most anticipated gadget of 2010, Apple appears to have sold through its initial supply of device and is no longer promising April 3rd delivery for new orders placed from this point on. Separately, the company has finally given the iPad Camera Connection Kit a ship date.

As of Saturday, the Apple online store indicates that new orders for all three models of the WiFi-only iPad models will ship "by April 12th," putting their arrival in customers' hands roughly two weeks after the April 3rd delivery date promised to early adopters who pre-order the device up until this weekend.

Meanwhile, Apple continues to imply that the first 3G-enabled iPads will ship by "Late April."

Over a week ago, people familiar with the iPad's running sales totals told the Wall Street Journal that the company had pre-sold "hundreds of thousands of the device." They added that Apple was on pace to potentially sell more iPads in its first three months than the 1.2 million iPhones it sold in the three months after the touch-screen handset made its debut back in 2007.

The buzz surrounding iPad pre-sales has prompted several prominent Wall Street analysts to raise their price targets on the company, sending its shares to new all-time highs.

For example, Credit Suisse analyst Bill Shope on Friday raised his 12-month price target to $300 from $275 while also upping his per-share earnings estimates for the company's current quarter to $2.57 per share from $2.27. He also increased his revenue outlook for the quarter to $12.26 billion from $11.45 billion.

"We believe Apple is now running well ahead of expectations in all of its key business segments," he wrote in a report to clients. "To put this in perspective, the March quarter typically represents Apple's seasonal nadir, and our estimates would imply the March quarter of 2010 would be the second strongest quarter in company history."

Shope now sees Apple selling 1.08 million iPads next quarter, up from his previous estimate of 650,000.

Separately, Apple on Saturday also provided a "Late April" ship date for the iPad Camera Connection Kit and began taking pre-orders for the device. It was previously unavailable for purchase for reasons the company did not disclose.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit enables two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using a camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. It supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW.