It’s always a big deal when a new Apple retail outlet opens, but the store coming to Houston could have a special first-day surprise—the debut of the iPad 3.
The Highland Village store was originally scheduled to open its doors on March 17, but according to the Houston Chronicle, the date has been pushed up to March 16. While the explanation could be that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, the fact that potential customers are planning to go out drinking that night wouldn’t prevent them from hitting the Apple store during the day. A more interesting theory is that this is the date the iPad 3 will go on sale.
The timeline fits, because in 2011, the iPad 2 was introduced on March 2, then went on sale March 11. Apple is expected to announce the iPad 3 at its media event this Wednesday, March 7, so an on-sale date of Friday, March 16 would make sense. The opening of the new store has been anticipated for months, and will be the fourth Apple retail outlet in the metropolitan Houston area, bringing the total number of stores in the area to seven.
The store has an air of mystery that is enhanced by the black cloth that has been shrouding it from prying eyes for months. The Chronicle’s Dwight Silverman stated, “The black cloth now covers what appears to be a glass back, front and curved roof. It looks like a smaller version of a store opened in New York City last year.”
The opening of a brand new Apple store is sure to be an event, but throwing open the doors on the same day that the new iPads become available would guarantee major media attention. It could also turn into a logistical nightmare, since last year’s on-sale debut of the iPad 2 caused long lines and packed parking lots at all Apple stores, and a stock shortage led to waits of days or weeks for the faithful who wanted their new tablet ASAP. Hopefully, Apple has learned from its mistakes and things will run more smoothly this time around.