If you can’t wait to get your hands on an iPad, then rest assured that the wait is almost over. The wi-fi only version of Apple’s iPad will begin shipping somewhere around March 28th, and rumor now has it that pre-orders for the device will begin as soon as February 25th. The 3G version of the iPad will begin shipping around April 28.
In other iPad related news, Apple recently took measures to prevent the public dissemination of information relating to shipping dates that might provide clues as to when the iPad (and other upcoming products) will hit US shores. Though such information is ultimately accessible via the Freedom of Information Act, it really isn’t surprising that Apple is trying to keep it under wraps given its seemingly paranoid obsession with secrecy.
MacNN cites a data protection company who claims that Apple’s decision to keep their shipping information under wraps is to prevent other companies from using that information for monetary gain.
The firm argues that denial of public access is a means of countering business intelligence groups like Panjiva and ImportGenius. Such outfits collect data from US Customs, then produce research documents that can be sold to a company’s rivals. This makes it possible to learn which products are being made, how many units are being produced and when they might arrive in North America.
Interesting, but we doubt Apple genuinely cares about business intelligence groups. What they do care about, however, is when leaked information lets the public more precisely figure out a secretive launch date for an upcoming product. It might sound crazy, but that’s exactly what happened in the summer of 2008 when reports detailing incoming iPhone 3G shipments made the rounds on the Apple blogosphere.