iPad 2 launch delayed as staff sleep in the store

Japanese Apple Store staff provide heroic support

Apple has unsurprisingly delayed the introduction of the iPad 2 in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami disaster and continued threat from striken nuclear reactors.

The company had previously intended to begin selling the second generation tablet on the 25th of March but Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told Reuters: "We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster."

The unsurprising delay follows reports of above and beyond support offered by Apple Store staff in Japan, immediately following the earthquake that saw staff reportedly hide under "ridiculously strong wooden tables than hold up the display computers."

The Toyko Apple Store stayed open seven hours and 118 aftershocks later according to a Japanese Apple store employee in an email to Kevin Rose

"Why? Because with the phone and train lines down, taxis stopped, and millions of people stuck in the Tokyo shopping district scared, with no access to television, hundreds of people were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email. "

The employee said he was "genuinely proud of the Apple Japan staff and their willingness to stay open to help people that day."

The Apple Store worker sent an update following another explosion at a Japanese nuclear plant saying that Apple Japan management had allowed staff to sleep in the store after closing hours, something they called a "godsend" due to jammed roads and booked-out hotels in the Tokyo capital.

"We continued to open our doors to stranded people on the street fixing iphones, selling battery packs, or simply teaching people how to get streaming news on their smartphones until 3am in the morning."

The employee also told of Apple executives in the UK and US getting in touch with the store via FaceTime, reassuring Japanese employees that they would "write off" associated costs.

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