Apple Issues iPad Video Tours Before April 3 Release

Apple has posted a series of "Guided Tours" videos for its iPad tablet PC on its official Website. Heavily reminiscent of Apple's 30-second television spots for the device, the videos suggest that Apple wants to familiarize potential purchasers with the iPad's functions and abilities, which may perhaps be unfamiliar to a population unused to multitouch tablet PCs. A leaked video, purportedly of the iPad App Store in action, shows an interface virtually akin to the existing App Store, with iPad applications selling for anywhere from "Free" to $49.99. Analysts have estimated that Apple sold nearly 120,000 iPads on the device's first day of preorder availability.

Apple has issued a series of "Guided Tours" videos designed to show off the various features of its upcoming iPad, including Pages and iBooks, and in the process perhaps try to convince potential customers unfamiliar with a tablet PC's capabilities and form factor. The WiFi-only version of the iPad will be released on April 3, with WiFi-and-3G versions made available to consumers at an undefined point later that month.

The videos, which can be found on Apple's official site, are heavily reminiscent of the 30-second television spot that Apple debuted a few weeks ago, focusing on a pair of hands manipulating the touch-screen device. Categories covered range from "Safari" and "Mail" to "Photos" and "Videos," with some business-centric segments including "Pages" and "Numbers." Particular emphasis is placed on the iPad's ability to display images, text and menus that adjust depending on whether the device is held horizontally or vertically.

As reported on Wired and other online sources, video of the iPad App Store supposedly in action has leaked onto the MacStories site. The interface shown in that clip is heavily reminiscent of Apple's App Store in its layout, with the apps on display priced anywhere from "Free" for Twitterrific for iPad to $49.99 for diagramming application OmniGraffle.

While Apple's previous ad campaigns have often focused on extending the company's sleek branding, or else touting its Mac line's purported advantages over Windows-based PCs, the iPad marketing materials seem to focus primarily on the device's features and possible uses. This could suggest a concern on Apple's part that certain customers will be reluctant to embrace unfamiliar technology, particularly if they're unsure what the 9.7-inch tablet PC can do within the context of daily life.

Apple insists on its Website that around 150,000 mobile applications will be available for the iPad upon the device's release. That represents a slight uptick from the 140,000 that Apple claimed would be available when CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device in January. Research firm IDC predicts that some 300,000 apps will be available in the App Store by the end of 2010.

The WiFi-only versions of the iPad will retail for $499 for 16GB of storage, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The iPads with both WiFi and 3G, slated for later release, have a price point of $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

Blogger and analyst Daniel Tello, in conjunction with Investor Village's AAPL Sanity Forum, estimated based on a 99-order sample that some 119,987 iPads were purchased on March 12, the first day of preorder availability; furthermore, the group estimated, preorders were split on a nearly even basis between the various models, with 33 percent preferring the 16GB, 32 percent selecting the 32GB and 33 percent purchasing the 64GB. Some 69 percent of the sample bought the WiFi-only version of the device, while 31 percent selected the WiFi and 3G-enabled version.