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Apple rumored to launch iPad internationally on April 24

New evidence of a potential April 24 launch of the iPad in Canada has led to speculation that the Saturday could serve as Apple's "late April" international launch date for the new hardware.

Employees of Apple's retail stores in Canada were reportedly told that the weekend of April 24 is a "blackout period" for staff, meaning no employees are allowed to book the days off, according to That date would fit with the timeline revealed by Apple earlier this month, which said Canada, along with the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland, would receive the hardware in late April.

Those in the U.S. who preordered their Wi-Fi iPad before last weekend should receive the new device on its launch date Saturday, while those who waited will have to wait until April 12. The 3G-capable model is scheduled to ship both in the U.S. and around the world in late April.

Though Apple revealed the iPad would sell starting at $499 in the U.S. when the product was unveiled in late January, it has not yet announced pricing for overseas markets. Similarly, though Apple also revealed the no-contract data plans available through AT&T in the U.S., international plans have not yet been revealed.

"We'll be back this summer with some even better deals for our customers internationally," Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said at the company's iPad keynote in January.

Apple began accepting preorders in the U.S. for the iPad on March 12. In addition to limiting customer preorders to two per person, Apple also turned down volume orders for businesses, suggesting the hardware maker faces a tight supply on launch day. In addition to late preorders having to wait until April 12, those who hesitated to reserve a keyboard dock or power adapter will also have to wait until May.

Weeks ago, people familiar with Apple's running sales totals said that hundreds of thousands of iPads had been purchased only weeks after the presales began. For comparison, Apple sold roughly 1.2 million iPhones in the three months following its June 2007 launch.