Apple is now officially allowing developers to submit their iPad applications to the App Store in preparation for the launch of the device. The deadline to submit applications to be included on launch day is March 27. Because developers can only test their applications using the iPad emulator that comes with the SDK, most applications are probably not ready yet. Opening iPad App submissions for developers allows Apple to provide feedback on the readiness of each application. Only submissions before the deadline have a chance to be available for download when the iPad is released.

Some lucky developers have been able to get their hands on an iPad test unit. These developers are more likely to be ready for launch day, but they have to follow strict guidelines to hide their test units from the public. According to BusinessWeek the developers must keep their test units in a room with blacked out windows, and keep it tethered to a fixed object. They must also sign a 10 page pact and provide photographic evidence of their compliance.

Although this seems ridiculous, Apple has been known for the lengths they go to keep their products secretive. A small price to pay for the lucky developers, who can use the device to test their applications before submitting them to Apple. When the iPad is released there might only be a handful of applications designed specifically for it, but once all the developers get their hands on the device there should be much more available. Apple has already begun taking pre-orders for the iPad. The iPad Wi-Fi will be released on April 3, while the “Wi-Fi + 3G” models are expected in late April.