There isn't any official word from Apple yet on when customers will get their hands on the iPad, but that isn't stopping the rumor mill from claiming the company's retail employees will get their hands on the multimedia tablet on March 10. Apparently Apple employees will get to see the iPad early for training, according to anonymous sources the Examiner spoke with.
The Examiner also claimed an Apple Store manager in southern California confirmed the information, and even added that the official iPad launch date will be March 26. Along with the end of March launch date report, the store manager also said that shoppers that line up early for an iPad will receive a "special gift."
Despite the rumors claiming store employees will get to start working with the iPad ahead of the launch, and the alleged report that the tablet will ship on March 26, Apple hasn't confirmed when customers will really see the iPad in person. Considering how closely Apple guards products ahead of launch dates, it also seems somewhat unlikely that store employees would get to see the iPad two weeks ahead of the launch.
Apple did, however, state that the WiFi-only version of the iPad would ship in March, and Friday the 26th seems a plausible date. The company has typically released the iPhone on Fridays, and the date is also the last Friday of the month.
Until Apple officially announces when the iPad will be available in its stores, reports of specific launch dates should be treated as nothing more than rumors.