Apple stores to open at 8 a.m. on Friday for ‘new iPad’ retail launch

Apple’s retail stores will open at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, March 16, on the official launch day of the “new iPad.” Normally, Apple retail stores open at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

The new iPad, really, the third generation of the hot-selling tablet, will initially be sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the U.S., the new iPad will also be available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target, and Wal-Mart but, of course, Apple retail stores will have the largest supply.

Buyers who (after waiting in a long line) buy a new iPad at an Apple retail outlet will be provided with free service from a store employee who will help them customize the tablet, including setting up the tablet with their email address.

One week later, on March 23, the new iPad, as Apple has been referring to it, will be available in many more countries. On that day, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden will all get their chance at lining up for the third-generation iPad.

Current estimates at Apple’s U.S. online store show a wait time of two to three weeks.

Still, if you’re not interested in waiting in line for hours … starting hours before the 8:00 a.m. opening of each store, you might want to just wait those few weeks. Unless you absolutely cannot wait that amount of time, you’re likely to have to get in line overnight for Apple stores accessible from the street, and at least 5 a.m. for those in malls.

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