"Everything that is on [Apple's U.K.] website still holds true; the website says 25 March and that's when it'll be," an Apple spokesperson told TechRadar.com earlier this week.
Rumors that Apple would delay the international launch of the iPad 2 were fueled last week by immediate sellouts of new shipments of the device and long lines that continued in the week after launch. Last week, analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities questioned whether Apple would be able to produce enough iPad 2 units to launch in more than two dozen countries this Friday after checks to several key Apple Stores.
Also stoking speculation of iPad 2 delays were reports of supply chain disruption caused by a massive earthquake in Japan that took place earlier this month. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told investors last week that the production status from Apple's Japanese-based component suppliers remained unclear, with many partners unable to accurately quantify the extent of their damage.
Late last week, a report from iSuppli identified five components in the Pad 2 that are likely sourced from Japan: NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., DRAM made by Elphida Memory Inc., an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, a touchscreen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co. and a system battery from Apple Japan. The report noted that while some of the suppliers' facilities were undamaged, "delivery of components from all of these companies is likely to be impacted at least to some degree by logistical issues now plaguing most Japanese industries in the quake zone."
Apple announced last week that it is delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan "while the country and [Apple's] teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster."
The iPad 2 is scheduled to go on sale March 25 in 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 U.K. According to Apple, launch dates and pricing for further international launches will be announced at a later date.
Last year, overwhelming initial demand for the original iPad forced Apple to delay the first-generation tablet's international launch by a month. The company went on to sell 15 million iPads from April to December 2010.