As the world awaits for the release of Apple's Next Big Thing, developers are putting the finishing touches on applications to be ready for iPad's April 3 ship date. And Apple is getting ready too. The company yesterday began accepting submissions for iPad App Store, its online application outlet for iPhone and iPad. According to a report on engadget, the deadline for having apps available on opening day is March 27 at 5:00pm PT; that's 8:00 pm in the Eastern U.S.

If you're on the buying end, you'd better get your order in. Apple opened the gates to pre-orders on Friday, and according to this ArsTechnica story, they're selling at about 25,000 an hour, fast enough to sell through its initial production run by the end of this weekend--almost two weeks before they even hit store shelves.

I'd call it common sense to figure that most iPads sold will be of the $499 (cheapest) variety, but the ArsTechnica story also estimates that perhaps as many as a quarter will include the 3G/GPS option for another $130 plus $29.95 a month for unlimited data transfer. There's also the $50 Verizon MiFi that sets up a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to five computers. But to get that price, you'll have to sign up for two years. It otherwise costs $250.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

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