The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan has put things into perspective for Apple, which announced today that it will be postponing the Japan release of the iPad 2 indefinitely. A statement from an Apple spokesperson to reporters related Apple's plans to delay the Japan launch as the country and Apple teams work to recover from the disasters that struck the country last weekend.
As many are aware, last Friday Japan was hit with a 9.0 earthquake--the largest on record--which resulted in a tsunami that swallowed up the country's coastal regions. Authorities place the death poll at 3,373 while another 7,558 remain missing. As aftershocks measuring up to 6.8 in magnitude continue to rock the country, fears of radiation are rising as workers struggle to control a damaged nuclear power station.
A number of organizations and celebrities have set up fundraising efforts for victims in Japan. Apple created a Red Cross fund through iTunes, which will allow users to contribute anywhere from $5 to $200 to disaster relief in Japan. Apple maintains that 100% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross' efforts in Japan.
The iPad 2 was released last weekend to a flurry of first-time and upgrading buyers. Analysts estimate that Apple sold anywhere from 500,000 to one million units in the U.S., and researchers from Piper Jaffray estimate that 70% of buyers are first-time iPad owners.
Best Buys across the country reported selling out of the devices and accessories within ten minutes of opening their doors. The iPad 2 was scheduled to debut in Japan along with several other countries on March 25, and while the device will still arrive in other countries on time, its Japan arrival has not been rescheduled.
The original iPad was released in Japan in May 2010. Preorders for the device sold out after three days and the line at Apple's main store in central Tokyo's Ginza shopping district was some 1,200 people strong on the day the tablet went on sale.
Image source: in.com