Over the past couple of days, rumors have been spreading that Best Buy has been ordered by Apple to halt sales of the iPad 2. The story is that Apple got wind of the fact that Best Buy had been stockpiling iPad 2 units, and didn't like that. However, we've got a very reliable source who just hit us up to give us the real scoop, and it turns out that it's a bit more sinister than a plan to stockpile iPad 2 units for a big weekend event.
According to a DigiTimes report, Japan has implemented a power brownout policy that is seriously hindering the production of upstream component makers in the country. However, Apple has agreed to absorb additional costs to ensure "smooth shipping" from the suppliers. In return, these Japanese companies are expected to see minimal negative affects on their profit margins.
AppleInsider pointed out an iSuppli report from earlier this month that said there are five key iPad components likely produced in Japan, including the device's battery, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), NAND flash, electronic compass, and the touch screen overlay glass.
We review the Smart Cover for the iPad 2 in this episode. Apple went back to the drawing board after their original iPad Case was found to not be the best design, and alongside the release of the iPad 2, they've got the Smart Cover. Using magnets to connect itself to the iPad, the Smart Cover is available in polyurethane or leather, and acts as a screen protector cleaner, and stand for the iPad 2. We give you a look at how it works.
Apple just released iOS 4.3.1 to the world, aiming to fix things like iPod touch display issues, AV-out troubles, problems with enterprise apps, and a few other bugs that were hanging around. If you've been running iOS 4.3 and have been experiencing a few niggles, chances are this'll clear that up. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iTunes and grab the update.
Similar to the U.S. launch, the iPad 2 will go on sale abroad at 5pm local time, and will be available online at 1am.
"While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we've changed the game again with iPad 2," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "We're experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the U.S., and customers around the world have told us they can't wait to get their hands on it. We appreciate everyone's patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone."
In total, the iPad 2 will be available in 25 additional countries on Friday, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
The effects of the Japanese earthquake may affect Apple's production of the iPad 2, according to market researcher IHS iSuppli.
The firm said it believes that Apple's iPad 2 uses components from several manufacturers affected by the earthquake, as well as the reactors in the area which workers are attempting to keep intact, if not functioning.
Apple representatives were not able to be contacted after hours. The company has already delayed the iPad 2 launch in Japan following the earthquake in Japan a week ago, which has not been rated magnitude 9.0 by the U.S. Geological Service. The iPad 2, which went on sale in the U.S. last Friday, was scheduled to launch in Japan on March 25.
iSuppli said it had identified five parts sourced from Japanese suppliers whose supplies may be affected by the quake: NAND flash from Toshiba, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) made by Elpida Memory, an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, the touch screen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co. and the system battery from Apple Japan Inc.
As usual, the Gear Live crew was near the front of the line as we waited for the iPad 2 to go on sale. Apple closed their doors about an hour before launch, and we started recording when the curtain came down. Get a look at the in-store festivities, which involves a lot of clapping and high-fives, followed by our in-store unboxing of a white iPad 2 with 3G, along with a Smart Cover demo.
Ever since I picked up an Apple iPad 2, I've spent more time with it than my original iPad. At 1.3 pounds, the 33 percent thinner iPad 2 is unquestionably more comfortable to hold and offers the promise of greater speed and utility. In some cases, doing what was once impossible with an iPad 1 is obvious. I could never, for instance, shoot or edit video with my old device. The remaining iPad 2 differences, however, are harder to spot; so I spent some time this weekend in search of them.
The iPad 2 has always had an accelerometer, which basically tells the device if it's in motion. It's great for, say, driving games, so you can steer with the whole device. I use this when playing Real Racing HD. Now the iPad 2 has a three-axis gyroscope, which not only recognizes motion, but the speed and angle of it. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's still hard to find any apps (from Apple or anyone else) that use it.
Apple reports at least two games that take advantage of the new gyroscope: "Dead Space" from EA and "N.O.V.A 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD." According to the "Dead Space" page in the App Store, version 1.0.2, which was released on the same day the iPad 2 arrived in stores, now has "more intuitive controls of your movement". This is made possible through "Y-Axis Inversion". No mention of gyroscope axis, but I'm guessing that's probably what EA is talking about. I downloaded the game to try it out.
Given the destruction caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, Apple announced today that it will delay the release of the iPad 2 in 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 confirmed.
The iPad 2 went on sale in the U.S. on March 11 and was scheduled to launch in more than two dozen additional countries, including Japan, on March 25. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake, however, hit northeast Japan on March 11, prompting devastating tsunamis that have wiped away entire towns and killed thousands.
SXSW 2011 brings 20,000 early adopters to downtown Austin, Texas every year, but this year the Apple iPad 2 was going on sale at the exact same time. What is a gadget-loving, Web professional to do? Apple made things a little easy by opening a temporary "pop-up" store just a few blocks from the convention center. On Friday, the lines were around the block. Today, it is just another busy, Apple retail store.
Sales at the pop-up store were brisk despite the fact there are two other Apple stores in Austin, which do about $30 million in combined annual business. The demand for the iPad 2 is driven partly by the fact that Apple didn't accept pre-orders on the device, forcing would-be early adopters to brave the lines at retail stores.
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