Unlike the iPad 2 release, the third-generation iPad (or, "the new iPad" if that's what you prefer to call it) can be preordered starting today.
Editor's note: This post was updated on March 15, 2012, to add details about which retailers will sell the iPad on March 16.
For many of us, that means not having to take the morning off work to stand in a long line with other anxious iPad owners to-be. It also means receiving a pretty package with your name on it on March 16, courtesy of 1 Infinite Loop.
Here are all the details about preordering your iPad, buying it in the store, and one thing you should avoid, even if you're desperate.
Preorder on Apple.com
Save yourself the hassle of standing and line, and just preorder your device. If you act fast, your new iPad will arrive on March 16, the same day it's available for purchase in store. Here's Apple's preorder page.
How it usually works: Apple opens windows for several delivery periods. There is a limited number of iPads reserved for preorders, and once they've all been claimed, Apple will open another window for a later delivery time--usually one to two weeks after the release date.
One important thing to note is that Apple now offers AppleCare+ for the iPad, which extends your warranty up to two years from the original purchase date. That includes two incidents of accidental damage.
Preorder from carriers and other retailers
Carriers have not yet announced their preorder or same-day purchase offerings. We'll update this post when that information becomes available.
Radio Shack is offering pre-orders for the new iPad, but with a catch: you have go to your local Radio Shack to do it and you have to purchase a $50 gift card. That's not too bad, since you can use the value toward a case or other iPad accessory. However, if you'd rather not purchase the gift card, skip the preorder and simply head to RadioShack on March 16.
Buy in-store on March 16
If you missed out on preordering, or you simply prefer a human-to-human shopping experience, the iPad will be available for purchase at all Apple stores on March 16. There may be long lines, so call your local store to find out what time it opens, and get there a couple hours early.
Radio Shack will also sell the iPad in stores on March 16, and will offer a trade-in service for your old iPad. Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, and Target will also sell the iPad when their doors open Friday morning. For those who just can't wait to get their hands on a new iPad, 24-hour Wal-mart stores will begin selling the iPad at 12:01am, while standard Wal-mart stores will sell the device at their usual opening time.
As previously mentioned, carriers haven't yet announced iPad purchasing details, but based on previous iPhone and iPad releases, you'll likely be able to purchase one from an AT&T or Verizon store on the morning of March 16. We'll update the blog as this info becomes available.
Avoid buying it from a third-party seller
If the carriers and Apple are sold out of the iPad, you may be tempted to go to Craigslist or another third-party seller to pick one up. Please, for the love of tech, resist the temptation.
Not only will you pay a lot more than MSRP, but you also risk getting scammed, receiving a device that's been tampered with, and may not be eligible for AppleCare+ (if you want it.)