iPad 2 Gets Temporary Apple Store for SXSW

Apple is setting up a temporary store in Austin, Texas, to sell the iPad 2 and other gadgets at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW) this week.

Apple will sell the iPad 2 March 11 at 236 U.S. retail stores and in more than 10,000 other stores, including AT&T and Verizon outlets and top retailers, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

But there's one outlet that Munster likely didn't account for in his tally.

That's an ad-hoc shop in downtown Austin, Texas, which local news outlets are reporting is being set up to accommodate iPad 2 (and other Apple device) buyers attending the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW) March 11 to March 20.

The American-Statesman said Apple will open a 5,000-square-foot temporary store Friday in the Scarbrough Building at 6th and Congress downtown. The store, whose windows are currently covered by black vinyl sheeting, has been leased for two weeks.

An Apple spokesperson denied knowledge of the event.

For anyone who follows the Internet sector, setting up shop at SXSW is a no-brainer. The event, draws thousands of attendees, ranging from geeks to social media experts and top tech journalists, many of whom have raved about the event's culture and coolness.

Twitter use rocketed after the company appeared there in 2007 and 2008 and Foursquare, the check-in service with more than 7.5 million users, gained prominence at SXSW in 2009.

Twitter and Foursquare were both designed to run first on mobile phones, but tablet such as the iPad function as smartphones with large screens, lending themselves well to apps designed with a mobile bent.

There's no question many of the people attending the event for work or play (there's tons of bands, film premiers and other pop culture delights) will be of the iPad-purchasing persuasion.

Meanwhile, Jaffray's Munster said the availability of the iPad 2 in more stores this year means it will sell 1 million units faster than the 28 days it took the first-generation iPad to sell.

The iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster than the predecessor that sold 15 million units last year.