Our sources were right. The iPad 2 is arriving in Japan tomorrow, April 28.

And, you know what? The elusive white iPhone 4 will be in stores as well.

The official confirmation comes from no other than SoftBank. A few minutes ago, they added this update on their Twitter account:

It confirms both the iPad 2 …and the white version of Apple’s iPhone. Thanks for waiting!

Pricing

The second Twitter update, a few seconds later, confirms the iPad 2 pricing.

  • Wi-Fi 16GB JPY 44,800
  • Wi-Fi 32GB JPY 52,300
  • Wi-Fi 64GB JPY 60,800
  • Wi-Fi + 3G 16GB JPY 56,640
  • Wi-Fi + 3G 32GB JPY 64,800
  • Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB JPY 72,720

The prices are very close to those of the first version of the iPad when it was released.

What about the data plans for the 3G versions ? iPad 2 for everybody it is [Ja, PDF]. It’s again similar to what SoftBank offered to iPad 1 owners.

Since it’s SoftBank that went ahead and confirmed all the info without Apple having updated anything -yet-, we can pretty much be certain that the SIM lock –unseen in the rest of the world– stays in place for the moment.

Enough supplies?

One thing is certain. Apple is very confident it will be able to supply enough tablets to this very important market, all the while expanding into Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, eight other countries on April 29 and China on May 6 (Wi-Fi model only). The company announced very strong numbers for its last quarter, although some analysts were disappointed. All inventory was sold but the earthquake that hit us left scars in the local supply chain essential for Cupertino. Tim Cook admitted some disruption last week while stressing that employees worked “around the clock” to mitigate the issues.

Will there be enough iPad 2 for Japan? The staggering USD 11bn purchase commitment should help.

PR Chaos?

On the communication front, only SoftBank is communicating. Nothing from Apple yet. The roll-out is unusual for Apple, to say the least. We just know that the Genius Bar are not accepting appointments until Saturday, certainly to cope with the sales.

No pre-order period –a great revenue maker for both Apple and Softbank via the anticipation build-up. Did they want to avoid hurting those iPad 1 sales? Maybe. Word is that if you’re getting a -discounted- iPad 1, you won’t have an exchange offer for the iPad 2. Ouch!

No real free publicity period this time around either –no posters in electronic stores announcing the new date, but then again, they had already printed the original ones with “March 25″.

Unprecedented. Unusual. Some hardcore fans might dislike how this plays out. Let’s wait and see. And let’s see the queues building up in front of stores tomorrow!

 

Oh… as I’m about to hit the publish button, SoftBank official press release [Ja] comes up. 20 minutes later. It’s honestly a bit chaotic. You gotta love the real-time news, right?

 

 

Help Japan

Whether or not you care about the iPad 2 or the white iPhone, 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.

 

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.

White iPhone

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]

Help Japan

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.