Apple may be a despot of its own walled garden, but that doesn't mean it's not benevolent. The iPad's international launch on May 28 has prompted the company to open Stores an hour early, at 8AM local time, in order to give its devotees a reprieve from hours of queuing outside. Then again, that little asterisk up there points us to an ominous "while supplies last" note at the bottom, which together with current pre-orders being fulfilled at some unidentified point in June, might force the most impatient to just get to the Store even earlier. UK buyers will get an alternative option thanks to Dixons Group stocking Apple's slate in Currys and PC World outlets, an arrangement that we keep hearing might be exclusive for the first sixty days after launch. Either way, you've been warned, don't be tardy if you wanna be trendy.

P.S. The iBooks app has also made its debut outside of the US today, though at present it's limited to just freebie titles, and the iBookstore is still described as "US only."

Update: The latest we're hearing is that at least some Apple Premium Resellers will also be getting stock of the iPad in the UK -- worth checking out if other options sell out.

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Apple will open international Stores early for iPad launch this Friday, iBooks app available now