Apple starts shipping pre-ordered iPads

Apple has started shipping its much-trumpeted tablet device, the iPad, around four days earlier than expected.

The highly-desirable touch-screen gizmo was supposed to start shipping on April 3rd but those members of the Mac faithful who were prepared to shell out the cash up front will be getting a nice surprise in the post as soon as tomorrow if Twitterings are to be believed.

US Apple stores are expected to have limited stock which will almost certainly sell out within minutes of opening on April 3rd, but will keep demo models for disappointed Macolytes to drool over until the next shipment arrives.

US customers who placed pre-orders by March 27 will receive the device by April 3rd but Apple said yesterday that new pre-orders won't be shipped out until April 12. It didn't say why.

Second class citizens in the rest of the world will get their Apple fix whenever the company deems us worthy, as it hasn't even bothered to give the UK an official launch date yet.