The release of the iPad 2 in Asia drew thousands of interested customers to be among the first to officially purchase the new 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet in their countries. After having missed last month’s international launch because of a devastating disaster, Japan became one of the first Asian countries to begin selling the iPad 2 on Thursday. According to The Wall Street Journal, the line for the iPad 2 at Apple‘s flagship Ginza retail store in Tokyo stretched for three blocks. The first customer in line has waited since 8 P.M. on Wednesday, braving a night of heavy rain. All though the crowd wasn’t as large as last year’s “frenzy” for the original iPad, it was a “respectable-sized crowd” that gathered for the launch. The iPad 2 starts at 44, 800 yen, (roughly $549.00 dollars), which is similar to the price of the original iPad when it went on sale last year.
At one store in Hong Kong, over 400 customers endured the rain on Friday in order to purchase the iPad 2. “A long queue snaked around the Apple shop in a major downtown shopping centre with several groups of shoppers loading as many as a dozen iPads onto trolleys,” the Associated Foreign Press reported. The device was out of stock in Hong Kong by the end of midday. There has definitely been an abundance of excitement in Hong Kong, as the white iPhone 4 launched there on Thursday and reportedly sold out within one hour. Apple announced on Wednesday that the iPad 2 would debut in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korean Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates this week. The iPad 2 will go on sale in China on May 6.
According to one well-connected analyst, Apple is set to ramp up iPad 2 production to grow shipments by more than 100% sequentially. Apple is expected to ship roughly 40 million iPads this year.