Despite long wait times in the U.S., Apple says the second-generation iPad will be available in the U.K. and two dozen other countries this week, as planned.
Whispers that Apple might delay the international launch of the iPad 2 given the general lack of availability here in the U.S. since its launch just 10 days ago have proven to be false. Proof positive of that is new word from the company this morning that buyers abroad will still be able to get their hands on the tablet come Friday, as originally planned.
Speaking to TechRadar earlier today about the iPad 2 launch in the UK, an Apple representative told the site that "everything on the Web site still holds true; the Web site says 25 March and that's when it'll be."
In a follow-up conversation, an Apple representative told CNET that the original launch plans for the other 24 countries that make up the second launch wave have not changed either.
That list of countries had originally been 26, but given the dire situation in Japan, Apple last week announced that it was delaying the launch there while the country recovers.
With the overwhelming demand in the U.S. for the first-generation iPad, Apple chose to delay availability to its initial wave of international launch countries by a month, giving it time to catch up with some of the supply shortages. Some of those same shortages have hit the iPad 2, with units trickling in to Apple's retail stores and third-party retailers and resellers, while those who wish to order the device online face a wait of four to five weeks.
Update 6:05 a.m. PT on March 22: Apple today announced that in addition to the 25 countries getting the iPad 2 on March 25, an unspecified number of other locales will get the tablet in April: Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and "additional countries."
The full list of countries receiving the iPad 2 on March 25 is as follows: 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.
This post was earlier updated at 10:25 a.m. PT on March 21 with comment from Apple.