Apple launches iPad 2 this Friday at $579

5pm release time both online and in retail stores

Apple has confirmed it will locally release the second generation of its popular iPad tablet this Friday at 5pm, with pricing from $579.

With Apple’s confirmation also comes pricing first leaked yesterday by a user on the Whirlpool forum. The lowest model - with 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi - starts at $579, with incremental price increases to $689 and $799 for the 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models, respectively. Those models with additional 3G capability can be had for $729 for 16GB of storage, $839 for 32GB and $949 for the highest, 64GB model.

(Check out the entire iPad 2 roundup)

Apple has touted new features on the iPad 2, including dual cameras and a smaller design, in order to attract both those yet to purchase the tablet and those looking to upgrade from the first generation.

The newest generation of the tablet was released to fanfare earlier this month in the US and has already hit potential shortages in supply, both due to demand and a lack of components as a result of recent earthquakes in Japan.

At launch, Apple announced it would release the device in 26 countries outside of the US on 25 March, including Australia, though recent shortages had led to speculation that some countries may be left out of the initial launch date.

Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore will miss out on a March launch, with the iPad 2 heading there in April.

(28 iPad 2 tips and tricks)

Given the iPad 2’s announcement, the computer giant has also since dropped pricing on the first generation models, ranging from $449 to $839. It is unclear whether these models will still be available for purchase after Friday.

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