In preparation for the launch of the new iPad on March 16, Apple Retail Stores are ‘likely’ to have special arrangements in place, including extended opening hours, according to Apple Retail Store staff that we spoke to. After checking with eight Apple Stores, we have found out that there will be special arrangements in place for arrival of the new iPad, but that it was not clear what that would mean yet, either through waiting lists or opening stores one hour early, as was the case with the iPad 2 launch.
Three of the Stores that we spoke to suggested that they would be extending their opening hours on the day of the new iPad launch, perhaps even extending it to several days beyond, but only one would pinpoint that as opening one hour early. They also said that they were unaware of any official stance yet but that they were expecting an update next week on how the distribution of the new iPad would be managed.
Apple will likely be looking to improve upon the launch of the iPad 2 which was difficult for some with long wait lines, false information regarding iPad 2 deliveries and call-back lists that were not as efficient as they could have been. Last year we reported that some Apple Stores were opening early to cope with the demand and it looks like, based on the info we have received from a very small sample of stores, that the same could be happening again. However, staff were quick to stress that there had been no official word on the extension of opening hours and, as such, more information was likely to appear next week.
Best advice from us is to pre-order your new iPad from the Apple website. If you are looking to chance it, then a good way to find out about the deliveries or opening hours is to check with your local store at around 3-4pm the day prior to see if a) any deliveries are expected and b) if they will be opening early.