Apple to Ship New 3G iPads by May 7

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has revealed that the shipping date for new orders of the 3G-enabled iPad in the US will now be May 7, following a move last week to delay the global launch to the end of May because of supply shortages. (See Apple Delays International iPad.)

Users attempting to buy the 3G device from Apple online are now told that the gadget will ship "by May 7th." The company has sent buyers that have already pre-ordered the iPad a note saying that their tablets will still ship in "late April", the All Things Digital blog notes.

Apple said last week that it has already taken "a large number" of pre-orders for the 3G iPad in the US. The company has sold over 50,000 WiFi-only iPads stateside since its launch on April 3rd. (See The iPad Has Landed.)

Apple says that this demand caused the delay of the global launch and it is likely now the reason that new orders in the US will arrive later. "Demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks," the firm said in its statement last week.

A 3G Hog After All?
The launch of the 3G device should be interesting for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and other carriers carrying the device. It is now clear that there is high demand for the 3G-enabled device, which will likely consume data over a network more like a netbook than a smartphone. LR Mobile -- and others -- have questioned what affect this launch might have on cellular networks as more people get the device. (See Will the Apple iPad Crush 3G Networks?)

AT&T promised a $2 billion spend on wireless network upgrades this year, beefing up 3G in major US cities and beyond. The carrier was stung last year as users complained about poor iPhone service in cities like San Francisco and NYC and decided on a program to upgrade backhaul and more in 2010. (See AT&T to Spend $2B More on Wireless in 2010 and AT&T Mobile Boss: NYC & San Fran Are 'Underperforming'.)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said previously that he expects the device to be WiFi-driven. The device had some teething troubles with user's WiFi connections, however, and the demand for the 3G version indicates that many users want a choice between 3G and WiFi for connectivity, at the very least. (See The iPad Has WiFi Teething Troubles.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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