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iPad UK release date: We hear it's 26 April

The Apple iPad's UK release date is a closely guarded secret, but as it approaches it's beginning to leak out. Book your day off now, because we hear it's a Monday

Here's another date to add to the Apple iPad UK launch rumour mill: 26 April. CNET UK has learned that a major publisher's app team is readying its iPad app for release on that date to coincide with the much-hyped tablet's launch.

Previous rumours suggested Apple Store staff had been told not to take the day off on Saturday 24. We also considered the day before, Friday 23 April, as all versions of the iPhone have launched over here on a Friday. Tuesday has been Apple's traditional launch day for most other products -- signalled with trademark contrariness by the Apple Web site going offline for a hype-inducing couple of hours. 26 April, the day the iPad will arrive, according to our source, is a Monday. Book your day off now.

We contacted Apple for comment, but the company remained tight-lipped on both release dates and prices. They don't half love a bit of cloak and dagger over there at Apple HQ -- not only will they not tell us when the iPad is coming, they won't even tell us when they're going to tell us when the iPad is coming.

It's no surprise newspapers and magazines are scrambling to launch apps, given the iPad's big-screen reading experience. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times had apps available for the US launch, as did Marvel Comics. Planned UK-based apps include the Guardian's photo-based app, and subscription-supported portals from the Spectator and the Financial Times.

The BBC is also sidestepping controversy over its iPhone apps by offering a news app for the iPad in the US iTunes App Store. It remains to be seen whether the app will be available to Brits upon UK launch on 26 April.

In the meantime, you can read our full review of the US iPad, and all the launch hoopla at iPad Central.