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iPad 2 sales kick off in dead of night

Erects 'popup store' in Texas

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Yesterday, iOS 4.3. Tomorrow, iPad 2. And if you're planning a trip to Austin, Texas, to catch Bad Brains at the annual South by Southwest mega-fest, Apple will provide a "popup store" just for your iPad-purchasing pleasure.

On Thursday, Apple also announced that it will begin accepting online orders at 1am Pacific Time on Friday for early [morning] adopters who can't wait until 5pm that same day to trade their credit card info for a shiny new iPad 2.

That 5pm release time, by the way, will be the same in each time zone. Yes, Mainers – Mainiacs? – will be able to pop down to South Portland to pick up their 'Pads a full three hours before us fanbois here in San Francisco.

Life just isn't fair, sometimes.

Apple is being more than fair to Austin festival-goers, however. Acording to the Austin American-Statesman, Jobs & Co are setting up a 5,000-square-foot temporary store aimed squarely at attendees of the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW Interactive), one component of that city's SXSW music, film, and technology jamboree.

The store – which, according to the AAS, is currently shrouded in black plastic wrap – will be in a downtown space that Apple has rented for two weeks.

There are already two other Apple retail stores in the hip hotbed that is Austin – north and south – but none that are as close to the potentially free-spending festival goers.

The popup store will thrust Apple's brand-building machine right into the heart of Austin's downtown – which greatly pleases Molly Alexander of the Downtown Austin Alliance of business-boosters.

"I'll take Apple for two weeks any day of the year," Alexander told the AAS. "They're one of the best retailers in the world." ®

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