The iPad has been released in America. Many of you in Japan might not be able to wait until it is released here and use your extensive network of shady international connections to somehow import the device. I am jealous of your reach, but I come with a word of warning: one of the most important features of a first generation product is the warranty. As of release day, it is not clear whether or not the iPad is covered under an international warranty.
Not all Apple products come with and international warranty. For example, the iPhone can only be serviced in the original country of purchase. This makes sense since the device is locked to the mobile carrier, and international Apple Stores may not have the necessary parts to make a repair.
Looking at the Terms & Conditions for iPad AppleCare:
Apple may restrict service provided under this Plan to the Covered Equipment’s original country of purchase.
The “may” is a bit vague. The iPad with 3G, which is locked to a mobile carrier, “may” have service restricted to the country of purchase like the iPhone. But what about the plain WiFi version? Obviously, over the next month you will not be able to get service in Japan if you import an iPad — Apple Japan personnel won’t have the training or the parts yet. But when the iPad reaches Japan at some future date, will it be covered internationally?
Further down in the APP documentation:
For international service, Apple may repair or exchange defective products and parts with comparable products and parts that comply with local standards.
This is a hopeful sign, but not definitive. Furthermore, I cannot find any other documentation that refers to the regular one year warranty (both the iPad User Guide and Important Information Guide are not uploaded yet). It is release day (in fact, only hours have passed sinnce release). Hopefully more information will be available soon. In the meantime, before getting your mate to bring you an iPad over the pond, you may want to consult your local Apple Genius to see whether he will be to repair it, just in case.
UPDATE: Danboさん found a link to the iPad warranty. It is the same as the iPhone warranty. Both include the phrase: “Where international service is available, Apple may repair or exchange defective products and parts with comparable products and parts that comply with local standards.”