iPad 2 release delayed in Japan

Apple, which was to have released the iPad 2 in Japan next week, has delayed the tablet computer's introduction there in light of the earthquake and tsunami that have ravaged the country.

"We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told Reuters.

The delay is not due to component shortages and it's not yet clear when the Japan launch will take place, according to Apple. The company will roll out the iPad 2 next week in about two dozen other nations as planned.

The iPad 2 has sold out at many stories across the United States since becoming available on March 11 and delivery of online orders has been pushed out 4 or 5 weeks due to great demand.

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Apple has been lauded this week for its reaction to the disasters in Japan. Digg founder Kevin Rose blogged about a friend of his who works at an Apple store in Japan, and who relayed the happenings at the store following the earthquake. Apple welcomed all comers into the store to watch the news and communicate with loved ones via Apple devices (or even Android devices connected to hotspots at the store).  Rose’s friend wrote in part:

"You know how in disaster movies, people on the street gather around electronic shops that have TVs in the display windows so they can stay informed with what is going on?  In this digital age, that's what the Tokyo Apple stores became.  Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones.  Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world."

Apple is taking Red Cross donations through iTunes to support relief efforts in Japan.

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