Apple delays Japanese launch of iPad 2

iPad 2
Image caption Apple's iPad 2 is said to be twice the speed of its predecessor

Apple has postponed the launch of the iPad 2 tablet in Japan, as the country struggles to recover from the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Originally planned for 25 March, the company said its launch had been delayed indefinitely.

Many technology firms are facing supply problems after factories in Japan shut down in the wake of the disaster.

However, an Apple spokesperson said the announced delay was unrelated to any supply shortages.

"We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster," said Natalie Kerris.

Apple has been using its iTunes store to accept donations for the American Red Cross' (ARC) Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund.

According to the company, 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross.

While the country's main focus is on the human cost of the disaster, many businesses are also facing challenges.

Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and Canon had all been forced to halt production in the immediate aftermath, in order to carry out safety checks.

The prospect of rolling power blackouts means further interruptions are likely over the coming weeks.

US launch

Image caption The iPad 2 first went on sale in the US

The updated version of the Apple's iPad first appeared in stores across the US last Friday.

Many retailers reported running out of stock within hours, and analysts estimated sales to hit 1m units during the weekend.

Buyers in 24 other countries, including the UK, will be able to get their hands on the iPad 2 next week.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has unveiled the tablet computer at an event in San Francisco on 1 March.

The iPad 2 is said to be twice the speed of its predecessor; it has cameras on the front and back and also features improved graphics.

The first version of the iPad was released in April 2010, and went on sale in Japan in May 2010.

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