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Apple Stores Go Down Ahead Of iPad 2 Launch

All the Apple stores worldwide have gone down ahead of the launch later today of the iPad 2; all the online stores went offline at roughly 11am GMT, a full seven hours before the event in San Francisco.

It is customary for Apple to take down the online Apple store ahead of the launch of a major product; indeed the last time the company displayed the now infamous "we'll be back soon" post-it was last week before the introduction of the new Apple Mac Book Pro family.

While it is not necessary for Apple to actually take down the website to update it, it is thought that this helps create a spike in traffic and a "refresh" frenzy as tens of thousands hit the F5 button or use pinging services to keep them updated as soon as the store comes back online with new products.

Apple is known however to have brought down the website for regular updates or, as some cynics have put it, possibly just to get that increase in traffic.

The latest rumour about the iPad 2 has surprisingly been caused by an "unfortunate" leak from giant online retailer Amazon, which had a listing page running, saying that the iPad 2 would be available on the 17th of March in Germany.

It also suggested that there will not be any Wi-Fi only tablets (or at least the iPad 3G and the Wi-Fi version would cost the same), that it will come with a 1.2GHz processor, 512MB RAM, a Thunderbolt port and a camera.

You can follow our live coverage of the iPad 2 launch on ITProPortal later today as we toil harder than usual in the press center here at Cebit in Hannover, Germany.

In the meantime why not have a quick look at our extensive coverage of the iPad 2 over the last six months as we count down together the last few hours before the launch.