The iPad is now officially an international phenomenon. The Apple tablet went on sale in various locations around the world today, including the UK, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy.
Interestingly, the iPad seems to be doing quite well in Japan, a country that’s historically been known for favoring electronics from local manufacturers.
You could probably make the case that Apple’s international launch comes not a moment too soon. The Computex trade show in Taiwan starts next week, and it looks like dozens of PC makers will be showing off their own tablets, running Windows 7, Google Android, and other operating systems. But let’s be honest. If anyone had a tablet that was quite as polished as the iPad ready to bring to market in the next few months, it would probably already be out there doing battle with the iPad. Apple effectively has a head start in the tablet space. The question is whether anyone will be able to play catch up.
I wouldn’t rule out the competition just yet though. After all, the Apple iPhone is starting to see some pretty serious competition from Google’s Android platform, and the iPhone had a much longer head start than the iPad.
Having visited Japan several times myself (I live in Canada) I think I can shed a bit of insight into Apple’s popularity there.
In short, Japanese consumers are used to being locked in to vertical markets.
DoCoMo’s i-mode, their wildly successful mobile Internet, is not unlike AOL — users pay a tariff for every page loaded, and near as I can tell, rarely venture outside DoCoMo’s walled garden.
That the iPhone is also a hit there confused me for some time, since many would see Japanese keitai as being far more advanced…
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