Expect long lines at Apple and Best Buy retail outlets this Saturday. Apple says the iPad will be available in all 221 U.S. Apple retail stores and most Best Buy stores this Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
“iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before. We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement.
Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the store, helping them customize their new iPad by setting up their e-mail, loading their favorite apps from the App Store and more. Also beginning Saturday morning, all U.S. Apple retail stores will host special iPad workshops to help customers learn more about their devices.
A sales representative from a Best Buy in Manhattan said that while the store isn’t suggesting that people line up early, the store does expect long lines. A sales representative from the Apple Store in Manhattan admitted the lines will be long but declined comment on wait times or available inventory. However, he did say that available stock will be limited.
The iPad will be available in Wi-Fi models on April 3 in the United States for a suggested retail price of $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 3G models, with connectivity through AT&T, will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12, promising to get the device to eager buyers by its store launch date of April 3. Customers who placed pre-orders by March 27 will receive the device by that date, where Saturday delivery is available, but Apple said on Sunday that new pre-orders won’t be shipped out until April 12.