The iPad 2 goes on sale at 5 p.m. local time at a number of retailers in most of the new markets it is entering Friday. Those markets include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Customers in those markets may also place orders online through the Apple Online Store in their respective countries. Initial shipping times to those countries isn't yet known.
Australia and New Zealand were the first countries set to receive the iPad 2, and sales have already begun. Japan was to appear on the list of new countries receiving the iPad 2 on Friday, too. But Apple has delayed the launch there in light of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which caused extensive damage to areas of the country. Apple hasn't set a new launch date for Japan.
In the U.S., shipping times for the iPad 2 (if ordered via Apple's online store) have improved from four to five weeks to three to four weeks. Today, a number of people lined up outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York, expecting a delivery of iPad 2s. The line is pretty long.
Verizon Wireless is looking to sell its remaining stock of first generation iPads. It has knocked prices down to ridiculously low levels. Verizon Wireless retail stores have dropped the prices by $200 to $299.99 for the 16 GB model, $399.99 for the 32 GB model, and $499.99 for the 64 GB model. These prices are available at stores owned by Verizon Wireless (not resellers) and are subject to availability.
Last week, AT&T dropped prices of the original iPad, as well. It is now charging $429 to $629 for the 3G-capable first-generation iPads. AT&T's online store has gone so far as to drop the price of the first-gen 64 GB iPad to just $529.
The iPad 2 has a dual-core 1-GHz processor, dual cameras for video chatting, 512 MB of memory, a new gyroscope, and is thinner and lighter than the original.