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Apple's iPad 2 at Walmart; News Corp subscribers; Canon and Thunderbolt

On the eve of the iPad 2 launch, Apple's latest touchscreen tablet has already shown up on shelves at Walmart, though customers were unable to purchase it. News Corp. announced that it has acquired over 200,000 subscribers to the Wall Street Journal on the iPad and other tablets. Finally, Canon has spoken out in support of Intel's new Thunderbolt interconnect technology.

iPad on shelves

Reports emerged on Thursday that some Walmart retail stores have already begun stocking the iPad 2 on shelves ahead of the device's 5:00 p.m. release on Friday. Customers who attempted to purchase the device, however, have reported that the store's checkout system was unable to process the purchase.

Though, in the past, big box retailers have been known to accidentally sell devices before their scheduled release dates, Apple's strict policies regarding product launches usually prevent such occurrences.

Friday's launch is generally expected to draw crowds, although online orders, which begin at 1 a.m. PT, 4 a.m. ET, and wider distribution to retail outlets such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy could reduce line lengths.

Source: Anthony Carretero

As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, six people were waiting in line at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue retail store in New York City, according to Fortune.

News Corp tablet subscribers

Speaking to reporters in Boston on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal Publisher Les Hinton revealed that the number of paid subscribers to the Journal on tablet devices and e-readers has quadrupled to 200,000 in the past year, Reuters reports.

Hinton said he was pleasantly surprised by the growing number of consumers willing to pay for content on tablets.

"The actual proliferation of these [devices] is so rapid," said Hinton. "What surprised us is that other periodicals than ours (also) seem to be getting good traction" for their own tablet content.

According to the report, the Journal, which boasts print edition circulation numbers of 1.6 million, charges a subscription rate of $3.99 a week for access to the newspaper's content.

In addition to the Journal, News Corp. is also hoping to attract iPad users to its iPad-only publication The Daily.

Canon and Thunderbolt

Canon executive Hiroo Edakubo has vocalized support for Intel's high-speed I/O technology, but stopped short of formally announcing any plans to incorporate it into Canon devices.

"We are excited about Thunderbolt technology and feel it will bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market," said Edakubo, who serves as Group Executive of Canon's Video Products Group.

According to a press release from Intel highlighting Edakubo's comments, Canon is "looking to build products" using Thunderbolt.

Edakubo's statement comes on the heels of reports that Apple and Canon may enter a new collaboration, possibly related to digital photography and video.

Thunderbolt pairs PCI Express with Apple's Mini DisplayPort standard to achieve transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. Apple became the first computer maker to make use of the technology with its latest batch of MacBook Pros.

Given that Intel expects Thunderbolt implementations from other manufacturers to arrive in early 2012, the Mac maker could have a year long head start on its competitors.