Apple Stores to Open at 9AM for iPad Launch

Apple will be opening its retail stores at 9AM local time in the U.S. on April 3 to kick off iPad sales. The company said that all 221 of its U.S. locations will have iPads on hand, and also confirmed that most Best Buy locations will be selling the iPad on launch day as well.

Apple will also offer free personal setup service for every customer that purchases an iPad in store. The service will include help with setting up email, installing extra applications, and more.

The iPad is Apple’s new tablet form factor multimedia tablet device. It includes a 9.7-inch multitouch display, runs iPhone OS and is compatible with most iPhone apps, offers Bluetooth keyboard support, can play back movies and music, includes an ebook reader and the iBookStore for downloading books and magazines, ships with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and some models include 3G wireless data access, too.

The iPad is priced starting at US$499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model. The Wi-Fi plus 3G models are due to ship before the end of April.

“We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.