Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just announced the iPad Air tablet will be available on November 1st at 8:00 a.m. local time. That’s roughly an hour earlier than the usual opening time for Apple stores.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) To Open Stores Early On Nov. 1st For iPad Air Launch

This is nothing new for Apple

This is nothing new for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), who previously opened up the store early for specific product launches, like the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, which launched last month.

Since Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) didn’t take advanced pre-orders online for the iPhone 5S, it’s highly unlikely they would do the same for the iPad Air. The company will probably take pre-orders online starting November 1st at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The new iPad Mini 2 with Retina display is reported to launch later in November.

The new iPad Air is just a few millimeters thinner and about half a pound lighter. The device also looks similar to the iPad Mini, thanks to squared-off edges and a smaller bezel. It runs with a 64-bit A7 chip and features a Retina display. The new tablet will start shipping on November 1st, starting at $499, which is about $100 more than the iPad 2.

The Cupertino-based tech giant also gave their budget tablet a makeover. The iPad Mini 2 measures 7.9 inches and features a 2048 x 1536 screen. It also runs on a 64-bit A7 chip. Not surprisingly, Apple is increasing the price of the Mini 2 to $399. Fortunately, the iPad Mini original will stay around and remain affordable at $299.

Apple will later launch a larger iPad

There is now speculation that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will later launch a larger iPad. The company has a MacBook Air laptop, which is a lighter version of the MacBook Pro, as well as Mac Mini, a smaller desktop computer.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster explained, “This would seem to leave room for a ‘Pro’ model at some point if a market for a higher performance tablet exists.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the tablet market cornered and over time it’s likely that the company will launch a larger tablet to ward off competitors.