Apple’s iPad Air tablet greeted by long store lines

Kyodo

Apple Inc.’s iPad Air tablet computer hit the shelves Friday in Japan, where Apple products are proving extremely popular, with more than 300 fans lining up in front of an Apple store in central Tokyo.

The fifth model of the iPad series, offered at retail prices of ¥51,800 or above in Japan, is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than its predecessor.

Takaaki Sasaki, 30, said he had been waiting in line at the Apple store in Ginza since mid-October and was happy to get one of the latest devices, which he said was “easier to carry around.”

Mobile phone carriers Softbank Corp. and KDDI Corp. are also selling the iPad Air.

NTT Docomo Inc., which began selling iPhones for the first time in September, is also considering stocking Apple’s newest tablet computer.