Apple has confirmed that its new iPad will go on sale at 8am local time in ten countries on Friday (March 16), allowing customers to pick up their new tablet at an official Apple Store before most other retailers open.

The company states that the device will arrive at Apple Stores at 8am local time in US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK, but also Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

From March 23, the device will become available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Today’s announcement comes as no surprise. We reported yesterday on a piece of artwork from an upcoming Apple Store display that clearly communicated the opening time, stating: The new iPad: Available Friday March 16th at 8am.

Apple states that US customers will also be able to purchase the new iPad at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart, with US operators AT&T and Verizon also confirming they will be selling the device from their retail stores on Friday in the US.

Will you be getting one?

Apple’s press release:

Apple today announced the new iPad, the third generation of its category defining mobile device, will arrive at Apple’s retail stores and the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com) 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.

The new iPad features a stunning new Retina display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life* while remaining amazingly thin and light. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G supports ultrafast 4G LTE networks in the US and Canada, and fast 3G networks around the world including those based on HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.** Additionally, iPad 2 is available at a more affordable price starting at just $399.

Every customer who buys a new iPad at an Apple retail store will be offered free Personal Setup service, helping them customize their iPad by setting up email, loading new apps from the App Store™ and more, so they’ll be up and running with their new iPad before they leave the store. Personal Pickup, available at Apple retail stores in the US and a feature of the free Apple Store® app, lets iPad customers shop and buy from anywhere they are, then pick up their purchase at any Apple retail store. In the US the new iPad will also be available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart.