updated 09:40 pm EDT, Thu May 27, 2010
iPad gets strong start overseas
The iPad had a strong start in some of its first international sales today with initial reports of very long lines in Japan. Over 1,200 queued at Apple's Ginza flagship store for its 8AM opening. Lines had started as early as Wednesday in Japan and have been matched by similar lines in Australia and Europe. Japanese pre-order numbers aren't known, but over 900,000 allegedly ordered the tablet in Europe.
The Tokyo queue was helped by the Japanese pre-order campaign, which let customers reserve their iPads in-person rather than online. Shoppers country have also historically been more likely to line up for product launches of many kinds, not just Apple, as NTT DoCoMo saw smaller but noticeable lines for the Xperia X10.
Apple has routinely had a disruptive effect on Japan, as the iPod was the first foreign MP3 player to oust the Sony Walkman from its top spot; the iPhone makes up 72percent of Japanese smartphones and a small but sizeable portion of all cellphones in the country. Few tablets are sold in Japan outside of convertible notebooks, and the relative absence of competitors may give Apple free rein in the short-term future. Sony so far has refused to enter the market quickly but has been one of the few in the region to express interest in building a rival.