iPad Buyers Begin Lining Up Outside of Apple Stores

This Friday, consumers will get their first hands-on encounter with Apple’s new third-generation iPad.

And for the third consecutive year, iPad fever is sweeping the nation ahead of launch.

On Wednesday, Apple confirmed its new iPad will arrive at Apple stores this Friday at precisely 8:00 a.m. local time in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK; along with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Shortly after the announcement, reports began surfacing of Apple fans beginning to camp out in front of a number of Apple retail stores, including Apple’s flagship New York City property on Fifth Avenue.

Of course, if you still want an iPad and don’t want to deal with the Apple store crowd frenzy that will likely transpire on Friday, there’s a chance – assuming adequate supplies are available – that you can get a new iPad this weekend from one of Apple’s retail partners in the United States, like Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart.