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Early Bird Walmart Going Live With iPad 3 At Midnight

Like any other highly-anticipated "must have" gadget, it's assumed that loyal Apple customers will be dancing in the streets tomorrow as they wait in line for the new iPad. The tablet will be available at retail Apple stores at 8am local time along with AT&T, Verizon, Target, Radio Shack, Best Buy and others.

But no one will be there when the doors open. The sidewalks will be bare, the stanchions fallen over unused. Why? Because eager iPad seekers will have already raided Walmart's midnight supply.

OK, so that's an exaggeration, but Walmart and Apple seem eager to cash in on the hype by selling the new iPad at 12:01am Friday morning. The chain's stock will be limited according to a statement, and sold only through the 24-hour stores. That means consumers will need to head out to Walmart now and hang out in the electronics section or have a very long snack in Subway/McDonald's/Snack Bar until iPad Day officially arrives.

Starting at one minute past midnight, Walmart will offer the Wi-Fi only 16 GB model for $499 USD. As reported last week, tech specs include a 9.7-inch Retina display, a dual-core Apple A5X SoC, 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP iSight camera, and a FaceTime camera with VGA-quality photos and video at up to 30 frames per second.

Hear that sound? That's the clock ticking, as iPad Day draws closer by the second...