While the runaway success of the iPad cannot be questioned — it's pushed Apple to the Number 3 slot in global mobile PC shipments in the third quarter of 2010 — analysts are now taking a long, hard look at how its faring outside of North America.
For example, Japan — who greeted the tablet's debut in May with huge crowds of would-be purchasers— has seen early interest wane in the device, with a lack of Japan-centric software content to blame.
Another roadblock has been the iPad's requirement of a PC attachment to download any content from iTunes. This is particularly anathema in Japan, who are world leaders in smartphone-based purchase transactions.
(This isn't the first time Apple hardware has faltered in the Land of the Rising Sun: even before the iPad's Japanese release, Peter Payne of jlist.com reminded the blogosphere that the iPhone took some time to be adopted by Japanese users thrown by its non-clamshell form factor and lack of a physical numeric keypad, which — believe it or not — makes entering hiragana-based text faster than on a QWERTY keyboard.)
If the tech-savvy Japanese are not snapping up iPads in droves, what does that say about the rest of the world? Until the iPad can shed its perceived "Western-centric" emphasis, its acceptance on a global scale will suffer.