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Apple locks resellers out of iPad sales

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Apple's iPad is available for pre-ordering, but only via Apple's own stores, not its retail partners.

Even Apple's approved resellers are not allowed to take deposits or pre-orders from customers keen to try and lay hands on the genius-tablet.

We were contacted by irritated Apple dealers, and passed on their questions to Apple: is it likely there will be shortages at launch so you have been forced to restrict supply? Or does Apple believe it will sell enough directly through its own stores?

We asked an Apple spokeswoman for answers. She suggested we read the Apple press release which talks about "select Apple resellers". At the time of writing she has been unable to tell us who these resellers are in the UK.

Apple is accepting pre-orders for iPads from today - the historic boxes will be available from 28 May in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

At least one reseller we spoke to today was willing to take our money for a pre-order, as long as we kept it quiet. Presumably he would then have run round to Apple's Regent Street retail HQ. Or maybe he was just going to take our money...

John Lewis said it will sell iPads, but it didn't know when it would have stock or whether or not it would have the full range.

UK prices start at a recommended retail price of £429, up to £699 for a full-fat, 64GB box with Wi-Fi and 3G. Mobile operators have already released their data bundles deals.

Some online dealers are already flogging the boxes, with or without Apple's official blessing. ®

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