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Apple iPad's UK launch delayed until May

Apple says strong US demand means the iPad won't launch in the UK until the end of May. This grim nimbostratus does have a silver lining, though

Right, make sure you're stably seated and all sharp implements are out of reach. The iPad's UK launch will be delayed from late April until the end of May, Apple has announced. There, there. It's going to be okay. Have a tissue.

The postponement is apparently due to the "runaway success" of the tablet computer in the US. Apple says demand is outstripping supply, with 500,000 iPads shipped over there in the first week, and a large number of pre-ordered iPads also due to ship before the end of this month.

"Is there no silver lining to this grim nimbostratus?" we hear you fanboys wail. Why yes, there is: Apple has finally confirmed that international pricing will be made available on 10 May, and you'll also be able to place pre-orders from that date. A specific release date still hasn't been revealed though.

We're due to receive our very own iPad in the next few days, when we'll be giving it a thorough probing, so stay tuned for that. You can tide yourself over by finding out everything there is to know about it in our fabulous iPad Central hub.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Does this news surprise you? Is it a ruthless marketing ploy by Apple to whip up iPad mania even further? Do you give two hoots, a monkey's or even a fig? Spill your guts, people.

Update: O2 and Vodafone have announced they will have special 3G iPad tariffs available in May. This suggests the 3G iPad and Wi-Fi-only iPad will arrive together; we're awaiting confirmation from Apple. The failure of the staggered release could damage sales of the non-3G version, as early adopters aren't forced into buying the Wi-Fi-only model. Or perhaps shoppers will balk at the extra cost for a 3G antenna: $80 extra in the US, and probably more for the citizens of Rip-off Britain.

Although UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, US 3G iPads will be available without fixed-term contracts. T-Mobile is likely to follow O2 and Voda with a similar announcement, while 3 and Tesco Mobile have said they won't be jumping on the iBandwagon.