iPad hype (and coverage) scheduled to reach fevered pitch

First things first: If you are waiting for your iPad to arrive, don’t panic! Apple seems to have this whole delivery thing figured out, and your device will most likely make the journey from Shenzhen, China by Saturday. You did pay for rush shipping, didn’t you?

In any case, the Saturday, April 3 delivery promise seems to all be part of a very calculated and effective marketing push leading up to the tablet’s public launch. That effort includes a series of iPad guided tour videos, the release of iTunes 9.1 to support the device, and an announcement by Seton Hill University that every student will get an iPad and a MacBook next year.

It is going to be hard to avoid the hype over the next few days. But despite blanket coverage by the tech press, not everyone wants or needs an iPad. The tablet is not cheap to start with, and some are warning of additional costs, both for apps and future upgrades to the device.

Still, analysts expect Apple to sell 5 million iPads this year, though estimates have ranged as high as 8 million. So, we know Steve Jobs will make a tidy profit from the tablet. The question, for media publishers especially, is will anyone else?

And of course, this being the Mobile Media blog, we will be receiving our iPad on Saturday. The Poynter team will be working with the tablet and blogging our first (and second) impressions all weekend, as well as collecting the best from around the Web to share here. See you on Saturday.

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