TOKYO - First came iPod shock, which knocked Japan's favorite gadget -- the Walkman from Sony, and its line of successors -- off its long-held perch at the top of the tech-savvy wish list. Then came iPhone shock, which sent Japan's cell-phone companies -- long used to scoffing at the clunky offerings from their overseas peers -- scrambling to develop similar smart phones.
On Friday, iPad shock hit Japan, threatening to bring upheaval to an ever-widening slew of industries in a nation once proud of being on the cutting edge of technology.
The iPad tablet computer from Apple went on sale in Japan and eight other countries -- Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland -- after selling more than a million units in the United States.
A flood of orders in Japan for the iPad caused Softbank, the country's exclusive phone carrier of the iPad, to stop accepting them after three days.
About 1,200 people lined up for the release of the iPad at an Apple Store in central Tokyo on Friday.
Similar lines were seen at Apple stores in Europe, but many waiting to get into the Apple store in Paris said they were there to buy an iPhone.
The hype around the iPad in Tokyo highlights what has become a sobering reality for a country once considered the technological trendsetter. Japan now frequently looks overseas for innovation.
Japan's electronics makers, like Sony and Panasonic, have been usurped on one end by rivals elsewhere in Asia, which have overtaken the Japanese by making cheaper versions of the products Japan long dominated.
NEW YORK TIMES