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iPad may launch in Canada April 24: Reports

KIMBERLY WHITE/KIMBERLY WHITE/REUTERS

The tech blogosphere is alive with rumours that Canadians will be able to queue up for the hotly anticipated Apple iPad on Saturday, April 24.

According to the site iPadinCanada.ca, Apple Store employees have been told they cannot book time off on the 24th, a date that fits in with the previously vague "late April" promises for the international iPad launch:

"We were contacted by a source with close ties to the Apple Store that the weekend of April 24th has been marked as a 'black out period' for staff. This means no employees are allowed to book this day off. If that's the case, then it would make sense that this indeed would be the launch date for the iPad in Canada. Anytime there's a 'black out period' you know it's for something big."

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U.S. customers will be able to purchase the tablet devices as of April 3, and Canada is in the select club of nations in to receive the first non-U.S. shipments of Steve Jobs' latest brainchild. The touch-screen computer was to be made available at the same time in the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.

As the Associated Press reported this week, U.S., employees who staff its retail stores are just as curious about the tablet as the fans who will line up outside.

With its notoriously secretive corporate culture, Apple is loathe to circulate any iPads among retail troops ahead of the debut. Even in-store Apple repair techs -- known as "geniuses" -- don't yet know how to fix the gadget.

Apple store workers say they have yet to see or touch the iPad, even though the launch is just days away and they are being trained and encouraged to talk about Apple's newest device with customers.

"We haven't seen it; we never do" before a product is launched, said one employee, who asked not to be identified because workers are barred from speaking with the media. "Every store employee I know, including the managers, they haven't seen it."

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