We already knew Apple's latest tablet would land on Friday, and popular suspicion was that it would go on sale from 5pm (like the iPad 2). However, Apple's press release hit overnight, indicating that its stores will open at 8am local time. Which means thanks to the International date line, we get the new iPad first.
Apple's official release for the new iPad reads:
[The third generation iPad] will arrive at Apple’s retail stores and the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com.au) on Friday, March 16 at 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.
Given global time zones, that means Australians will be the first in the world to try to score the device. Thankfully, I don't think we'll see iPhone 4-levels of queuing mayhem, but if you're so inclined: here's everything you need to waste your life waiting in line for the new iPad.
If you want to buy the new iPad outright, you're looking at: Wi-Fi Only: 16GB ($539); 32GB ($649); 64GB ($759) Wi-Fi + 3G: 16GB ($679); 32GB ($789); 64GB ($899)
Why did I list 3G above not 4G? Because though the new iPad works with US and Canadian LTE networks, it won't here. It supports two LTE frequencies: 700Mhz and 2100MHz. Telstra's 4G network uses the 1800MHz spectrum, as will Optus come April. Telstra is re-using its 2100MHz spectrum to add capacity to the Next G network, and Vodafone's 4G plans are on hold.
Optus has tested 700MHz LTE, but the spectrum will be up for grabs by carriers at the Government's 'Digital Dividend auction' later this year (the sale of the 700Mhz and 2.5GHz spectrum bands opened up as Australia switches to digital television).
Playing The Field
As a fan of tech in general, there's still lots I like abou the new iPad. Particularly that screen. More: Meet The New iPad: Third Generation
But I also can't help but look at some of the upcoming tablets we're going to see without drooling. It's definately becoming a tougher decision, and that's great for competition. More: What Will Be Your Next Tablet? 28 Tablets Compared