Missing SXSW Apple Store Indicates iPad 3 Won’t Ship Before Next Week

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Lines for Apple's temporary store at SXSW 2011. Image courtesy of ObamaPacman.
Lines for Apple's temporary store at SXSW 2011. Image courtesy of ObamaPacman.

Apple officials have reportedly confirmed that the company will not be taking its pop-up retail store to this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival, which kicks off on Friday, March 9. The decision suggests Apple’s iPad 3 will not be ready for shipping next week.

Following the unveiling of the iPad 2 on March 2 last year, Apple erected a temporary pop-up store at the SXSW festival the following week so that attendees could get their hands on the company’s latest tablet and accessories when it launched on March 11.

This year, however, Apple won’t be taking a store to the Austin event, according to Statesman.com:

Apple Inc. will not create a pop-up Apple Store downtown for South by Southwest Interactive Festival this year, Apple officials confirmed Monday.

The absence of the store this year indicates that the new device may not be ready for sale before the festival ends on March 13, and that we could be waiting until later this month to snap up the long-awaited iPad 3.