iPad Kindle-killer (ships March 26), iBookstore expansion plans, more…

Apple’s iPad will ship on Friday, March 26, reports claim, with special gifts for those who queue up overnight to pick one of the devices up at their local Apple Store and staff training beginning next week, The Examiner claims.

Also AT&T on iPad market future; relax, production problems may not impact iPad availability. Bookworms – iBookstore’s on its way, hold steady – oh, and Kindle may get knocked aside by the Apple behemoth – and more. Read on…

AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has said he expects the iPad to be a mainly “Wi-Fi driven product.” Which is strange given his company offers good 3G deals for the device, but realistically is just the carrier boss trying to tell iPhone customers the bandwidth will sustain the iPad act.

Apple’s iPad production may be on track after all according to DigiTimes, so 600,000 to 700,000 iPads should ship this month, followed by one million units in April, according to component suppliers. (We’re still expecting limited avail. in some markets).

A new Apple job postings reveal the company is trying to expand its iBookstore into new markets, including Canada and Asia. There’s also moves to beef up Apple’s mobile advertising team .

Silicon Alley Insider reports a listing for an iBooks Asia Pacific & Canada manager. This describes the position as working with management, partners, production, and marketing to determine strategies for iBooks in “Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries,” coordinating launches, and securing content.

Apple’s device seems likely to threaten – and perhaps overpower – Amazon’s Kindle, Strategy Analytics warned today. The researcher’s most recent survey of e-book reader owners and intenders shows that prior to the release of the iPad, Apple ranks just behind Amazon in the US and UK in terms of preferred brand; and if the iPad provides a compelling eReader experience, it may overtake Amazon’s Kindle.

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, observed one key fact, “Even though e-book readers allow for easy portability, more than half of e-book reader usage still occurs at home.”

The 3G versions won’t be available until April or May.
Commercials will start airing on March 15. E-book capabilities will be emphasized.
People who camp out for the iPad lauch will receive a “special gift.”

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