Apple fans are eagerly anticipating getting their hands on the new iPad 2, which is released in New Zealand today.

And despite not going on sale until 5pm tonight, queues are already forming outside some stores.

Outside the Yoobee store in Newmarket, in central Auckland, a queue of around 10 people were gathered before 9am, however many have since left and plan to return before 5pm.

The iPad 2 went on sale in the United States on March 11 after being unveiled to the world on March 2 by Apple's Steve Jobs, but today marks the release for the rest of the world.

Retailing from $799, Apple markets the new iPad 2 as "Thinner. Lighter. Faster." than its predecessor.

The new model boosts up to nine times the graphics performance, two cameras - one on the front and another on the back, HD video recording, a dual-core A5 chip and 10-hour battery life.

Orders could be placed online at the Apple Store from 2.30am this morning, however those buyers won't get their hands on the gadget for another two to three weeks.

- NZ Herald staff