Apple says it will open its stores at 8:00 a.m. Friday for want-to-be early adopters of the new iPad.
The company says the iPad will be available at every Apple store, but has not indicated how many units per store. Buyers can expect lines of faithful just like every other Apple product launch, even though standing in line is becoming something to make fun of.
As buyers plan their iPad strategy, keep the following in mind:
You may not want a new iPad. New York Times tech reporter David Pogue points out the device should really be called "iPad 2 S" and it's just the old iPad with some faster technology. "Its technical improvements keep it at the forefront of desirability — just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competition — but don’t take it in any new directions" says Pogue. Other reviewers point out its heavier and thicker than the iPad2 and takes far longer to charge.
You don't have to go to an Apple store. Best Buy, Radio Shack and even Sam's Club will have the new iPad. Employees at Apple stores will help you set up your new iPad, but Apple engineers have already made that pretty easy. And the guys at Radio Shack are pretty smart too.
The weather in the Bay Area is going to be terrible. "They're gonna get soaked!" says NBC Bay Area meteorologist Christina Loren. "Cold windy rain, rain whipped by wind... it will be awful." Christina says the worst weather will be at the Palo Alto Apple store and the lines at the San Francisco store "will get slammed". The store in Los Gatos will be your best bet, she says.
Our take: Skip the lines. The iPad is such a marvelous device, which iPad you have - the new iPad, the iPad2 or even the very first iPad - is not nearly as important as the decision to buy an iPad in the first place.