Orange and T-mobile to sell iPad 2 in UK this month


Apple has launched the second generation of its iPad at an event in San Francisco, with Orange and T-Mobile to sell the tablet computer in the UK from 25th March. Apple has billed the iPad 2 as slimmer, lighter and faster than its predecessor. The machine features a faster processor, improved graphics, and front and rear cameras.

The new device features the company's latest dual core A5 processor, which, it is claimed, delivers twice the processing power of the original iPad. iPad 2 will go on sale in the US on 11 March, followed by 26 other countries, including the UK, on 25 March.



In the United States, pricing will remain the same as for the first iPad, between $499 (£305) and $826 (£505). Other countries are also expected to retain their original pricing models.

Along with the updated hardware, Apple unveiled several new applications for the iPad 2, including the video editing package iMovie and music making programme, Garage Band.

UK launch and pricing

T-Mobile and Orange, also known under the merged brand name as Everything Everywhere, will both stock the 3G enabled Ipad 2 when it arrives in the UK.

T-Mobile sent out a message through its official Twitter account saying, "Both ourselves and Orange will be stocking the Ipad 2 when it becomes available in the UK".

Jobs announced that the UK will be receiving the iPad 2 two weeks after the device makes its US debut, claiming prices will remain exactly the same as the first generation model. It is likely that mobile operators will heavily discount first generation Ipads to clear their stock.

If the old pricing model is followed, UK consumers can expect to pay 200 up front (for the for the 16GB 3G model), and around £25 per month for two years.

Meanwhile, O2 has confirmed it will not sell the iPad 2, but it will be offering tariffs for the soon-to-be-released Apple device.

“Although we will not be selling iPad 2 with subsidy, O2 micro-sims with our great value iPad tariffs are still available for customers who have purchased the device elsewhere,” an O2 spokesperson said.

At the time of publication, neither Vodafone nor 3 had confirmed whether they would be pushing the iPad 2.

Elsewhere, Apple has decided to cut the price of the original iPad by £100 on its website, with a note to say the deal is only whilst stocks last. The cheapest version of the iPad 1 can now be snapped up for £329.

Apple announced the latest iteration of the iPad yesterday as well as iOS 4.3, which will be released in a week’s time.

Soaring tablet market

Apple leads the industry in sales of tablet devices, but is beginning to face competition from rivals such as HP and Samsung.

The launch event was hosted by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January. It had been widely speculated that he would not appear owing to his ill health. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004.

Speaking on stage, he said: "We have been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss today."

Up until September 2010, Apple iPads accounted for 95% of tablet computer sales, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

By the end of 2010, that figure had fallen to 75%, said Strategy Analytics.

The loss of share was down to the arrival of scores of new tablet devices, mainly based on Google's open-source Android system.

Other platforms have also begun to appear, including Microsoft's Windows 7 and HP's WebOS.

Impact on the mobile and PC industry

Andrew Bud, Global Chair of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), commented on the impact of the device on the wider mobile media industry.

“The launch of the iPad 2 marks another milestone in the rapidly evolving market for mobile connected devices,” Bud said. “The number of new tablets being launched, the rapid sales of both the original iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab and the new revenue streams which the tablet platform is generating for publishing companies such as Pearson all illustrate that consumers are taking to this new form factor, as the MEF predicted.

“More importantly, it also demonstrates how mobile connected devices such as tablets are fast becoming the primary access point for content and entertainment. Whereas many predicted that the mobile internet would soon dance to the tune of the fixed-line internet ecosystem, the opposite is actually beginning to happen. The rise of the tablet is proving to be the turning point for consumers as mobile becomes the preferred platform for using an ever-widening number of services.

“In the same way that the iPhone proved a catalyst for the growth of the smartphone market, this new iteration of the iPad will further force the pace of innovation and stimulate market competition. The industry needs to rise vigorously to this challenge to ensure sufficient competition, both in consumer choice and in the business model of the ecosystem,” Bud concluded.

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