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Apple's iPad big in Japan


The launch of Apple's iPad in Asia is "generating a level of hype and excitement rarely seen these days for a new electronics product in this gadget-loving nation," according to reports from Japan on today's launch.

An article by the Wall Street Journal detailed the "frenzy" of the iPad's Japanese launch, where it was met by lines of buyers, some of whom had camped out for days.

Softbank, the exclusive carrier of the 3G iPad in Japan, stopped taking reservations after just three days in a climate where a variety of magazines ran cover stories about the iPad launch.

"Softbank says it is under strict orders from Apple not to disclose how many reservations it has accepted or how many will be distributed Friday," the report said. "It wouldn't even disclose whether consumers could buy the iPad on Friday without a reservation."

A report on the launch by the New York Times noted the parallel success of previous Apple launches. The iPod continues to dominate the music player market and the iPhone has become wildly successful in the country, citing MM Research Institute data showing that Apple has 72 share of Japan's smartphone market.

The Times said 1200 people had lined up at the Apple Store in central Tokyo for the launch of iPad.

Japanese content for iPad

It's not just consumers who are interested in the iPad launch. The Wall Street Journal said Japanese game developer Konami Digital Entertainment, "once solely focused on creating games for dedicated consoles like the Wii from Nintendo and more recently, for cellphones" has released Metal Gear Solid Touch for iPad. Capcom similarly says it will reformat BioHazard 4 for iPad.

"Japan’s publishers, which have long been cautious in moving online," the report noted, "are racing to offer their titles on the iPad." It cited Shufunotomo, a major women’s magazine, as saying it will open an electronic bookstore for iPad with about 50 magazines and books. The report also noted Yahoo Japan plans to offer 100 free comics for iPad users.

Apple's new tablet isn't without competition however; It noted that Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest newspaper, reported Thursday that it would join forces with Sony’s e-reader content platform, publisher Toppan Printing, and the cellphone carrier KDDI, a competitor of Apple's exclusive Japanese mobile partner Softbank.