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After protracted downtime, Apple Store ready for iPad preorders

Customers can now order the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablets, which will be released next week.

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Apple unveils the iPad Air 2, which comes with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Tim Stevens/CNET

Apple's online marketplace was down for a few hours this morning with no explanation from the company, but it's now back up and ready for iPad preorders.

Customers who head to the Apple Store can preorder the iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3. As of this writing, all versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are available. Apple's site says the devices will ship in two to four business days.

The company announced the new iPads on Thursday at an event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The iPad Air 2 was the biggest announcement at the event. The tablet includes the new A8X processor, a long-awaited Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and runs on iOS 8. The iPad Mini 3 comes with the same look and feel as its predecessor but also includes Touch ID.

While the preorders will attract some customers, the big news this morning was how long it took for them to start. Apple's online store went down at approximately 4:30 a.m. PT for a few hours with no explanation from the company on why there was such a long delay.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On iPhone 6 preorder day last month, many sites didn't open at the planned time -- midnight PT -- including the Apple Store. This time around, Apple didn't guarantee a time for advance orders to start, however, so it might have planned to launch them this way.

The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only model, while the iPad Mini 3 is $399 to start. Both devices come in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB versions.

Correction, 9:25 a.m. PT: This story incorrectly described the initial start of iPhone 6 preorders on the Apple Store. The Apple Store did not open at the planned time.