Turns out I was wrong.
I had placed my bets for a mid-May release, but the second iteration of the iPad will hit Japan’s shores on April 28. That’s tomorrow, folks. You read that right.
Our various sources confirm it.
April 28 in all stores
As the Nikkei correctly reports, the tablet will debut Thursday in Apple stores, retailers and Softbank Mobile outlets. That last part seems could confirm that the iPad might very well still be SIM locked in Japan, i.e. no way to slip another micro-SIM than the official carrier (but free to put international chips in).
Apple sold all the iPad 2 it had on its inventory last quarter, but some analysts called the numbers a bit disappointing. The recent disaster in Japan and its related components shortage –Japanese suppliers being responsible from flash memory chips to screen overlays– didn’t allow the company to muster production further. Apple’s acting CEO admitted some supply chain disruption last week but stayed silent on a release date in Japan. Since then, the company committed to a staggering USD 11bn purchase commitment, concomitant with the tablet expansion into new countries in Asia.
A release in Japan shows Cupertino is very confident in its ability to widely deliver the product.
The re-opening of the Apple store in Sendai last Thursday showed a relative return to normalcy for Apple Japan. The city and its one million resident were the closest to the massive earthquake and its following tsunami. Some unconfirmed rumors mention a symbolic launch of the iPad 2 in that shop, but I wouldn’t bet on it at this hour.
Geniuses to the rescue
Our own Joseph Tame indicates that there’s a sudden lack of Genius bar availability starting tomorrow until Saturday. Ressources are being redirected for an influx of customers, as the iPad 2 will undoubtedly lead to lots and lots of people queueing in front of the major stores.
Some of our sources are mentioning that the elusive white version of the iPhone might also arrive tomorrow. This is all very muddy to me. It is supposedly arriving in the US today, although the official online store still only displays the black version.
In any case, if you’re looking for the iPad 2, start queuing!
[box] UPDATE: It’s official, both iPad 2 and white iPhone released April 28. Pricing confirmed. Read more.[/box]
Whether or not the iPad 2 is released tomorrow, you should continue to help Japan.
Mobile in Japan supports our amazing friends at #quakebook who created the beautiful 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake. Buy it on Amazon (US store: http://amzn.to/quakebook & UK store: http://amzn.to/qbuk). 100% of your money goes to the Japan Red Cross society.