Hundreds of Japanese flock to buy iPad 2 in Tokyo

Hundreds of people flocked to Apple store in Tokyo’s Ginza on Thursday for the launch of its iPad 2 tablet computer after an about one-month postponement in the wake of last month’s mega earthquake and tsunami. A 37-year-old man started lining up from 8 p.m. the previous day ahead of the 9 a.m. release of iPad 2 at the store in the upscale Ginza shopping district and wants to try the TV phone function on the iPad 2. The iPad 2 is about 30% thinner than the previous model and retails from 44,800 yen ($545). The launch was initially scheduled for March 25. Apple store employees handed out bottled water to customers waiting in queue outside the Apple store in Tokyo’s Ginza, to purchase iPad 2. Hundreds of customers lined up before the store opened at 9 a.m., with the first man in line having been there since 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Attention is on whether the new model can maintain the iPad’s overwhelming popularity in Japan given that a succession of other tablet computers has hit the market since the launch of the first iPad model in Japan last May. Apple also released a white-colored model of its iPhone 4 on Thursday at Apple stores, outlets of Softbank Mobile Corp, and some electronics retailers in Japan.