Friday is D-day for consumers looking to get their hands on Apple's third generation iPad, and lines are expected to be long because the device is already sold out online.
Doors at Apple stores and most other retailers selling the new iPad open at 8 a.m. local time in nine countries, including the U.S., and two U.S. territories. The first iPad was already sold in Australia at a Telstra store that opened at midnight local time. Other countries getting the new iPad include: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, the U.K., and the U.S., along with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless will be selling 4G versions of the iPad in their stores. And you can get iPads at other retailers, too. Wal-Mart will be selling the iPad starting at midnight in the U.S. Radio Shack, Best Buy, Sam's Club, and Target will also sell the iPad starting at 8 a.m.
The new iPad looks a lot like the iPad 2, but it's got a souped-up high-resolution Retina Display, an updated processor, Apple's A5X chip, and 4G connectivity (4G LTE in the U.S. and HSPA+ in international markets.)
The device is expected to be a hot seller. Apple sold out of presale iPads online just a couple of days after it announced the new tablet. Groups protesting working conditions for Apple contract factory workers in China have also said they plan to be at the Apple Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan Friday morning.
CNET's crew of reporters and photographers will be at the cube on Fifth Avenue documenting the expected long lines and protesters. We'll also have coverage from Apple's new Grand Central store in New York , as well from our reporters in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif., and Paris, too.
12:10 p.m. ET, New York City Radio Shack at 93rd St. and Broadway: Radio Shack is also selling the new iPad on launch day. But judging from this store in Manhattan, the retailer didn't get many units per store. The salesperson at 93rd St. and Broadway said the store only got 10 new iPads to sell. Customers weren't lined up this morning. But the store did sell out of all 10 new iPads a half hour after it opened, she said.
8:07 a.m. PT, SF: Scott Miner is the first person at the Stockton Street store to purchase the new iPad.
Unlike those times, however, the group said it was not delivering signatures from people who signed the online petition. Instead, spokeswoman Charlotte Hill explained that those involved with the petition were showing off a banner as well as printed cards depicting iPhones, all featuring written pleas from those who signed the document.
7:36 a.m. PT, San Francisco: Scratch the original estimate. There are about 300 people in line. Apple's in an unusual position this year. Construction adjacent to the front of the store forced the line to go in different direction around the block. To avoid blocking the front of neighboring stores, the company rented out a nearby parking lot where approximately 100 shoppers are snaked into a line.
7:20 a.m. PT, San Francisco: About 140 people are in line here now, with the earliest having gotten here around 9:30 p.m. last night. Scott Miner, a local teacher and instructor arrived yesterday and braved some rainy weather overnight. Miner, who's purchasing the 32GB black model on AT&T, shrugged off the wait, mentioning that he was here two years ago for the first-generation model's launch.
Another returnee is Josh Elavitti, who's picking up two iPads not for himself, but for people who hired him to line wait using TaskRabbit, a paid-for chore service. Elavitti was among the first in line last year also for TaskRabbit, a gig he says ended up being a repeat affair with last year's model when it was hard to come by. Elavitti said he ended up doing similar early morning waits for another five tablets.
8:31 a.m. ET, NYC Fifth Ave. store: Five people representing Change.org hand over the 250,000 signature petition to Apple.
8:23 a.m. ET, NYC Fifth Ave. store: Eric Ladd of Brazil was the eighth person in line here and, thus, one of the first to get his iPad. He flew in Thursday night and started waiting in line at 2 a.m. today. He plans to give his iPad 2 to his mother so they can FaceTime each other. He bought two iPads today. He is selling one to a friend, which will pay the cost of his flight. Ladd said he flew in for the iPad since it could be months before Brazil will get the tablet and it will likely cost twice as much as it does here in the U.S.
8:08 a.m. ET, NYC Grand Central store: Alex, who wouldn't give his last name, was the first through Apple's Grand Central doors--even though he wasn't the first in line. Apple let people who reserved for pickup inside first. Alex was in New York on vacation from Moscow when his son called and asked him to wait in line for a new iPad. His son has an iPad 2, which will soon belong to Alex himself.
8:07 a.m. ET, NYC Fifth Ave. store: The first people are emerging from the Apple store. The first man who came out was surrounded by reporters and quickly walked down the street with a pack following him.
8:00 a.m. ET, NYC Grand Central Station store: Roger Cheng here at the Apple Store in New York's Grand Central Station. The Grand Central store, unlike the other Apple stores, doesn't have the luxury of space for a line by its front steps. Instead, about 200 iPad buyers, who queued up as early as 6 a.m. today, were sent to a nearby tunnel by the Northeast Passage trains.
Jorg Bokelmann and Kersten Schumacher were the first in line at the Grand Central Apple store in New York. Bokelmann, 37, and Schumacher, 32, flew in from Germany specifically to buy the new iPad. "It's the new one, so I had to have it," Bokelmann said.
7:50 a.m. ET, NYC Fifth Ave. store: This is Maggie Reardon reporting from the Fifth Avenue store. The line of eager iPad fans is around the block. Maybe 200 to 300, waiting in the cold, damp morning. Greg Packer from Huntington, N.Y., is the first person in line. He's been here since Monday.
8 a.m. local time, Paris: Hundreds of consumers lined up outside the Appel Store near the Paris opera house. "J'aime le Mac," said Zhuang Bin, who shuffled slowly but steadily down a chicane of metal crowd-control barriers to buy a new companion for his first- and second-generation iPads.
Midnight PT, Union City, Calif.: Wal-Mart's 24-hour stores in the U.S. got the jump on Apple by releasing the third-generation iPad a full eight hours before Apple stores even opened. There was limited supply, however. For example, dozens of people lined up at a Wal-Mart in Union City, which had 40 iPads to sell. And many left disappointed.
8 a.m. local time Tokyo: About 450 people lined up outside the Apple store in Tokyo's Ginza district, and a nearby Softbank outlet had about 70 people in line, according to Japan's Nikkei news service. The lines had begun forming two days earlier. About an hour after opening, the crowds were dispersed.
Midnight Australia time, Sydney: The flagship Telstra electronics store in Sydney sold the first new iPad to David Tarasenko. The man earned bragging rights as the very first consumer to snag the new tablet, a white 64GB iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model to be exact.