You've surely heard Apple's gigantic hype machine pumping forth its resolutionary message about a new, tablet-shaped thingy, but just in case you've been living under the proverbial rock, NEWS FLASH: the new iPad lands in the UK tomorrow.
If you're keen to splash an outrageous amount of cash on this shiny slab of high-resolution glass, read on for our guide to UK iPad deals. We'll be updating this article as more deals are announced, so be sure to bookmark it and check back in the coming days.
First up, you can of course buy the new iPad from an Apple store -- it went on sale at. Prices start at £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad, right up to £659 for the 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi plus 3G.
Alternatively, you can pick up the new iPad in person by taking a trip to an Apple reseller such as Currys, HMV or PC World. Other stockists include Argos, Comet and John Lewis. Apple has a handy 'Find a reseller' tool on its website.
If you want to buy a 3G iPad, you can also get the device from an operator. Price plans vary, and not all operators stock all models of the iPad, so it's worth doing your homework before taking the plunge.
If you can splash more cash upfront it may be more cost-effective in the long run to buy a SIM-free 3G iPad and then get a SIM-only deal from an operator. There are one month -- and even one day -- deals, and pay-as-you-go deals, so you can pick and choose how much data you want and who to buy it from, depending on your current needs.
For example, Orange offers 200MB over a 24-hour period for £2, and O2 offers the same amount of data but also throws in unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot access for £2.04 a day. O2's SIM-only plans can be found here, Orange's SIM-only iPad plans are here and Three has SIM-only plans here. Vodafone's SIM-only plans are here -- just hit the tab labelled 'Buy an iPad plan'. You can also get a micro-SIM to stick in the new iPad from GiffGaff -- and load up with one of its data Goodybags.
If you want to buy the iPad from an operator, there is another range of price plans to brain up on. We've compiled price-plan data for the four operators that resell the iPad -- Three, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone (O2 doesn't stock the device but does offer SIM-only iPad plans) -- on this Google spreadsheet, which flags up the various costs and total cost for each price plan to make your homework a little easier.
You can get a 16GB new iPad from Three for £99 if you sign up for a two-year contract costing £29 per month. Three is also offering a slightly cheaper monthly tariff -- £25 -- but you'll need to shell out more to get the iPad on this plan (£159 for the 16GB iPad, for instance). On both these plans you get 15GB of data per month.
The total cost over two years of the £29 plan-plus-device works out at £795 -- or £759 on the £25 a month plan.
Three is also offering £15 (10GB of data) or £7.50 (1GB of data) one-month rolling contracts in which the 16GB iPad costs £479 up front, the 32GB iPad costs £549 and the 64GB iPad costs £629 up front.
For more on Three's plans, check out the full spreadsheet.
Orange's monthly price plans for the new iPad are £25 per month over the two-year contract length and they give you 1GB of anytime data and 1GB of 'quiet time' data (between 12am and 4pm). You also get 'unlimited' access to BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots -- which is actually a 10GB limit in practice.
Existing Orange customers can get a 16GB iPad for £199 on this tariff -- new customers need to shell out £249 to get the 16GB iPad. To get the 32GB iPad it's £249 (or £279 for new customers), while the 64GB iPad costs £349 (or £379 for new customers). The total cost over two years of a 16GB iPad on Orange's plan is £799 for existing Orange customers (or £829 for new customers).
Orange is also offering iPhone + iPad deals in which you can get the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPads without shelling out an upfront fee, provided you sign up to a £66 per month contract -- and pay the upfront cost for the relative iPhone (if there is one).
On these bundles you get 2GB of data per month to share across both devices. See the spreadsheet for Orange's full range.
T-Mobile, which is owned by the same parent company as Orange, offers the same basic plans but doesn't sell the 64GB iPad or offer any iPad + iPhone bundles. So T-Mo's new iPad plans also cost £25 a month over two years, and on these plans the cost of iPads is the same as the cost for Orange customers -- with the same small discount for existing customers.
There are a couple of differences between the two operators' 16GB and 32GB new iPad two-year contracts though -- specifically around data limits. Both offer 1GB of 'anytime data' and 1GB of 'quiet time data' but the quiet time period varies and Orange customers get a more generous definition of 'quiet time': midnight to 4pm vs midnight to 10am for T-Mobile customers.
Orange customers also get 10GB worth of BT Openzone Wi-Fi data per month on their plans, but T-Mobile customers don't get any Wi-Fi hotspot data.
Vodafone is offering the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB new iPads on two-year contracts that cost £27 per month. The 16GB iPad costs £199 upfront on this price plan, the 32GB iPad costs £275 and the 64GB iPad is £345. The total cost of a 16GB iPad over two years on this plan is £849 -- making Big Red the most expensive new iPad operator of its iPad-reselling peers.
Vodafone is also offering one-month plans for the new iPad, for either £15 or £7.50 a month. A 16GB iPad on these plans costs £499, the 32GB iPad costs £569 and the 64GB iPad costs £645.
For more on Vodafone's new iPad price plans see the spreadsheet.
iPad trade-in deals
If you've already got an iPad and want to upgrade, you can trade in your old model in exchange for cash at various retail outlets.
Carphone Warehouse is accepting iPad trade-ins. At the time of writing, a 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G will get you £275 in cash or £245 for the Wi-Fi only version. A 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad 2 will get you £325 or £275 for Wi-Fi only. And the 64GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G gets you £355 or £325 for the Wi-Fi only version.
Carphone will also take your original iPad off your hands -- for £205 if it has Wi-Fi + 3G or £135 for the Wi-Fi only version.
Vodafone also has an iPad 2 trade in scheme -- and will give you cash or high-street vouchers.
From Vodafone, the 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G gets you £220 in cash (or £255 in vouchers), the 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad gets you £200 cash (or £232 vouchers). The 32GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G gets you £250 in cash (or £290 in vouchers), while the 32GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 gets £225 in cash (or £261 vouchers).
The 64GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G gets you £290 cash (or £336 worth of vouchers), and the Wi-Fi only 64GB iPad 2 nets £265 in cash (or £307 in vouchers).
Heard about a good iPad trade-in deal? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our bargain-basement Facebook page.
Update 16 March: Added Vodafone deals.
While you're here, have a look at our hands-on video of the new iPad from the launch