iPad 2 Launch Details: How, When and Where to Buy


Apple has just issued a press release confirming details of the Pad 2 (s aapl) launch for tomorrow. The “next generation of its magical device” will be available at all 236 Apple Retail stores in the U.S. at 5:00 PM local time, as well as at a temporary retail location at SXSW. Apple’s online store will begin sales at 1:00 AM PT.

Those buying at local Apple Stores will have the option of a free Personal Setup service. Introduced last year with the original iPad, Apple Store employees will help iPad 2 buyers set up email, load apps from the App Store, and customize settings. While not as time consuming as iPhone setup, this won’t help shorten lines already lengthened by a lack of pre-orders and the evening launch time. Plan on being at an Apple Store early (lines are already forming at some locations).

If you can’t get to an Apple Store, Best Buy(s bby), Target(s tgt), Walmart/Sam’s Club (s wmt) will also begin selling the iPad 2 at 5:00 PM local time tomorrow, and presumably will have an option for buying online, though online plans have not yet been formally announced for these outlets. Prospective iPad 2 buyers should be aware that historically Apple retail partners have had considerably less stock of new Apple products, so while lines might be smaller, iPads will sell out much quicker.

Those looking for a 3G iPad will have to choose between Verizon (s vz) and AT&T (s t), both of which will offer the iPad for sale at retail stores tomorrow at 5:00 PM local time. In addition, AT&T will be selling the iPad 2 online, but not Verizon. If you’re still trying to decide on which network, price favors AT&T on data plans at the lower end of the bandwidth cap spectrum, but Verizon offers more data at a better price:

If you haven’t already decided which iPad 2 you want to buy, now is the time to choose, because tomorrow you’ll be too busy trying to find stock to worry about making decisions.

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