Earlier this month, just before the iPad was announced, we reported that the March 16th opening of a new Houston Apple Store may signal the iPad launch. Normally store openings occur on Saturday, but this store was reported to open on Friday. This led to the speculation that the iPad launch might be on that date, and Apple did indeed announce last week that the device will be available beginning March 16th.
However, the company has yet to announce what time the launch will begin in-store sales of the iPad on Friday. Sometimes, Apple has held major product launches first thing in the morning, but that was different with the iPad 2 last year. Last year, the company held the iPad 2 launch in the late afternoon.
Now, as noted by the Houston Chronicle, Apple has now publicly announced that the new Highland Village store will be opening at 8:00 AM on Friday. The demand for Apple’s new iPad has been “off the charts“, with the company’s online stores in all launch countries now quoting shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks for new orders.