Apple has starting taking pre-orders for the much-hyped iPad, its new tablet computer designed for watching videos, reading digital books, surfing the Web and productivity tools.

Apple says people can pre-order online now and get it delivered to their home April 3, the date of its release. People also have the option of buying the iPad online and picking it up at an Apple store.

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Only the iPads without the 3G connectivity will go on sale April 3. For those who want that additional data connection, Apple says they will have to wait at least one more month.

Apple says versions of the iPad with cellular data connections and Wi-Fi will go on sale at the end of April.

iPad comes in nine models with either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage. The basic iPad models will cost $499, $599 and $699, depending on hard-drive size. All iPads come with Wi-Fi capabilities.

The 3G versions of each model will add $130 to each model. For 3G iPads, users will be able to choose between two contract-free plans: $14.99 per month for 250 megabytes of data, or $29.99 for unlimited data usage.

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