iPad for £50 thanks to T-Mobile and Groupon -- but what's the catch?

T-Mobile has teamed up with discount site Groupon to offer the Apple iPad for just £49 -- if you don't mind staying up late.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Think you've got an eye for a bargain? How about an Apple iPad for less than £50? With the iPad 2 just weeks away, T-Mobile has teamed up with discount site Groupon to offer Apple's original tablet for £49 -- if you don't mind staying up late.

All you have to do is sign up for Groupon's daily email offering a new discount each day, and from midnight tonight you can net yourself a 32GB iPad with a two-year 3G data contract. If you don't count that two-year commitment, the only catch is it will involve a late night. 

This isn't the first time a new Apple device has been used as a hook to reel people into signing up for a daily deals site. Last year Groupola offered an iPhone 4 for £99. It's now emerged that the dodgy dealers had just eight phones, earning the company a slap on the wrist from the Office of Fair Trading, BitterWallet reports.

Groupon says it has 1,000 iPads to sell. There are 6.5 million bargain-hunters on the Groupon mailing list, so you'll have to be quick. The deal kicks off at one minute past midnight tonight and last the whole of Wednesday 16 March. You'll be emailed a phone number and voucher code. One phone call later a 32GB iPad could have your name on it.

On top of the £49 price, you'll be tied into a 24-month data contract costing £25 per month if you're a T-Mobile customer, or £27 if you're not. That adds up to a total of £697 over two years.

If you don't get the Groupon deal, T-Mobile sells the iPad for £250. Are you tempted, or will you hold out for the iPad 2, coming on 25 March? T-Mobile, Vodafoneand Orange will sell the new iPad -- but not O2 -- though prices haven't been announced. Or hey, you can always get one for £124,000 on eBay.

The major players have also entered the daily deals arena with Google Offers and Facebook Deals launching recently. Have you found yourself any solid-gold bargains, or been fleeced? Do us a deal in the comments or on our Facebook wall.