One of the most awaited gadgets of the year - the new iPad - has been released. That however has not stopped the rumours from continuing to fly in thick and fast... this time they are all about the actual market launch of the product.

According to MacRumours, Apple's grand opening of the new Highland Village store, scheduled for 8 a.m. on 16 March will coincide with the launch of the new iPad; the iPad 2 was also launched on a Friday but at noon.

There are related reports that suggest Apple's visual merchandising staff have rescheduled for an overnight shift, from Thursday night to Friday morning, to prepare for the launch. There are also reports from 9To5Mac that reveal a photo from a retail store source showing some new signage going up, confirming the early morning launch. This accords well with prior product launches from Apple, all of which happened early morning on Friday.

Furthermore, with the Cupertino-based company having sold out its initial batch of online pre-orders, customers eager to secure the new iPad on launch day may need to queue up at either Apple or third-party retail stores.

Meanwhile, posted Geekbench benchmarks for the device, revealing that the device's A5X system-on-a-chip contains a 1GHz application processor and 1GB of RAM.

The new iPad secured a total Geekbench score of 756, almost the same as that of the iPad 2; although Geekbench only tests processor and memory performance and does not address graphics capabilities that are the focus of improvements in the A5X.

The A5X offers the same 1GHz CPU found in the A5 and bumps the RAM from 512 MB to 1GB as was predicted and suggested earlier by MacRumors.

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