Apple Store Open for IPad Orders

Gadget fanatics looking to add Apple's iPad to their toy chest can finally get their hands on ... a keyboard to put in an order for the device.

Apple started taking pre-orders for the sleek new device at 5:30 a.m. Friday. All the models will be available for pre-order and most will be sent out on April 3. The exception is the 3G model -- those won't ship until late April.

There's no real indication of how popular the iPad will be. With all its beauty and promise, it's lacking one pretty significant function -- it can't run Flash. So many web favorites like Hulu, Netflix and other sites will hit a dead end on the iPad.

The iPad is offered in three WiFi versions: the $499 16GB version, the $599 32GB version or the $699 64GB version. The three 3G models are $130 more, at $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB. The 3G models need an additional data plan from AT&T. You can pre-order at Apple's online store.

But without Flash, the question becomes, will tech-savvy users users want to shell out extra cash for the iPad so early in the game?

People shying away from the iPad may want to try a netbook, also known as a mini laptop. There are a variety of brands and prices, but decent netbooks running Windows 7 are available for about $300.With almost the same functionality of a laptop computer but with more portability, many people will likely opt for a mini.

And for those Apple loyalists who want a mini but don't want to use a Windows machine, there are plenty of resources that will walk you through a lesson on turning your Windows netbook into a "Hackintosh."

Are you buying an iPad? Let us know in the comments section. If not, tell us why and what you're using instead.

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