An email has been sent out to developers telling them Apple is now accepting application submissions for the iPad App Store -- a special category of the existing iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. 9to5Mac has the text:
iPad will begin shipping soon and your opportunity to be part of the grand opening of the iPad App Store starts today. Submit your iPad app now for an initial review by the App Review Team and receive feedback on its readiness for the grand opening. Submit Your App by March 27.
Build and test your iPad app using iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5 available on the iPhone Dev Center. Only iPad apps built with iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5 will be accepted for this initial review.
Upload your distribution signed app through iTunes Connect by Saturday, March 27, 5pm PDT.
The App Review Team will review your app on iPad and email you details about the readiness of your app.
You will also receive additional information about submitting your app for final review before iPad ships.
Only apps submitted for the initial review will be considered for the grand opening of the iPad App Store.
As TUAW points out, however, there's some risk involved:
the simulator uses many Macintosh frameworks and libraries, offering features that are not actually present on the iPhone. Applications that appear to be completely operational and fully debugged on the simulator may flake out or crash on the device itself. You simply cannot fully debug any program solely by using the simulator and be assured that the software will run bug-free on the iPhone. Here at TUAW central, we're assuming (or at least hoping) that Apple will be testing device builds on real devices.
+1 to that. It would no doubt annoy users not to have iPad-specific apps available on April 3. I would annoy them more if those apps crash due to never being tested on, you know, the actual iPad hardware they're supposed to run on...