The new iPad will be available from 16 March. Just a few days to go. However, demand for the tablet will likely be extremely high in its first month, and you won't be able to just waltz into any store come mid afternoon on launch day and pick one up. We've rounded-up the best ways to get hold of both a Wi-Fi only and 3G iPad - and we'll update this article as more details on prices are released.
Want a Wi-Fi only iPad?
The UK pre-order from the Apple Store online has sold out - with the first batch all gone, Apple says it'll be a couple of weeks before the next lot arrived. However, knowing how Apple works, they may well arrive earlier.
Apple retail stores will have some stock at launch, but the mammoth queues iPad launches attract mean you'll need to get up early to secure yourself a place up front. Our top tip is that a new Harrods Apple store is set to open very soon, and it could be one for Londoners to check out to avoid the chaos of the larger Covent Garden and Regent Street shops. Or one to avoid if Apple ends up making a fuss about it.
Other shops will also likely get some stock, but we haven't yet found precise details on who will get the Apple nod. In the past, the DSG group shops have been ones to keep an eye on - PC World and Currys. Phone shops won't be much use for Wi-Fi-only iPads, as they'll want to flog you a data contract.
The only ways to save money buying a new iPad are to use promotional vouchers, which always seem to miraculously disappear when an Apple launch comes around, or a cashback service like Quidco. With a £400-plus purchase, though, cashback schemes are worth considering.
Carphone Warehouse has announced that it'll offer a trade-in deal for older-generation iPads. For a 16GB first-gen iPad, you'll get £135, for a 16GB iPad 2 Carphone Warehouse offers £245. The trade-in offer maxes-out at £355 for a 64GB iPad 2 with 3G.You'd be able to make a bit more on eBay, but it's a neat way to avoid the faff and fees involved.
Want a 3G iPad?
3G iPads are available as-is, but you can also snap one up from one of the main phone networks. These will come with either a smartphone-like contract and smaller initial outlay, or a hefty price tag and a rolling contract. Before picking either, work out how long the iPad will end up costing you over a year (or two). The calculations are often slightly terrifying.
O2 will not sell the tablet itself, but it will offer deals that provide iPad-tailored data bundles. The current data plans for the iPad 2 cost £2.04 a day, for 200MB, £10.21 a month for 1GB of mobile data, or £15.32 for 2GB data a month. These deals also give you unlimited access to BT Openzone Wi-Fi hot spots.
Three has launched its own page for the new iPad, and has confirmed that it will stock Apple's next tablet. However, as yet we do not know exact price details. The benefit of Three's data plans is that they let you use far more data than most. Where others tend to offer a gigabyte or two, Three's iPad 2 tariffs include either 10GB or 15GB of data. Now that's more like it.
T-Mobile has a "register your interest" page on its website, and it has confirmed that it will sell the new iPad. However, pricing has not been announced as yet. We'll be back with more details soon.
In similar fashion, Orange has put up a registration page for the iPad. Fill it in and Orange will ping you over more details later. We'll post them here as they're announced.
Vodafone has confirmed that it will stock the new iPad from Friday 16 March, but as yet there are no pricing details available.
GiffGaff will not sell the tablet itself - it doesn't currently sell any phones or tablets - but it does offer a trio of data plans designed for use with 3G dongles and tablets. For £5 a month, you get 500MB, £7.50 gets you 1GB and £12.50 3GB. These are what GiffGaff calls gigabag goodybags. You buy them separately each month, with zero commitment to stay with them month after month - making them good for intermittent mobile internet users. Free SIMs are available from the GiffGaff website.
Although the Tesco Direct website will probably stock the new iPad, Tesco Mobile is quite a different entity. It doesn't offer any tablet-focused SIM deals at present with all SIM-only packages including calls rather than just data.