Apple fans to trek North as iPad launches in UK


APPLE ENTHUSIASTS in Ireland will be able to get their hands on the iPad from today as it goes on sale in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.

Availability of the device was set to encourage cross-Border shopping as technology buffs made plans to travel North to buy the touchscreen portable computer.

The iPad, which was announced in January, goes on sale from today in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Japan. The device has been available for pre-order to customers in the nine countries from the Apple Store since May 10th.

Described by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as a “magical and revolutionary device”, the almost 10in touchscreen is designed to be used for browsing the web, playing digital media such as photographs and video and reading electronic books.

The iPad is available in models that come with wireless internet access – or wifi – only, or a more expensive 3G model that allows online browsing via a built-in 3G connection. With storage capacity that ranges from 16GB to 64GB, the iPad will cost from £429 (€505) for the entry-level model, which comes with wifi capability, and from £529 for the 16GB version that also includes 3G.

There is no indication yet of how much the device will cost when it goes on sale in the Republic. The iPad is due for release in the Republic in July, along with Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Mexico and New Zealand.

In Japan, Apple fans queued to be among the first to get the device the day of its launch, with some lining up from Wednesday.

Apple has already sold more than one million iPads since it was unveiled on April 3rd.

The company delayed the international launch by a month following strong sales in the US.

Ipad users have already downloaded more than 12 million applications from the App Store and over 1.5 million e-books from the new iBookstore.