UK iPad prices: another great rip-off

Apple iPad

British buyers forced to pay up to 25% more for iPad than US customers

Apple has announced the UK prices for its iPad tablet, and once again British buyers are being forced to pay a hefty premium.

It also appears that customers who pay for the 3G models will get no discount on the hardware, even when they pay for expensive monthly tariffs.

The cheapest iPad, the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, will cost £429 inc VAT. That same model is on sale in the US for $499, which is only £340 at today's exchange rate.

The most expensive model, the 64GB Wi-Fi and 3G iPad, will set British buyers back £699 inc VAT. In the US, that top-of-the-range model costs only $829 - £564 on a straight dollar conversion. That means British buyers are being asked to pay almost a quarter more for the same product. All figures exclude US sales tax, which ranges from zero to 11.5% depending on the state.

The UK prices put a £100 premium on the 3G-enabled iPads, which also include assisted GPS.

The iPads will be available for order from the Apple UK website from Monday, although they won't actually arrive with customers until 28 May.

Mobile data deals

Orange has also become the first British network to break cover on mobile price plans for the 3G versions of the iPad. The network will offer "iPad bundles", the most expensive of which costs £25 per month for 10GB of data and unlimited browsing at Wi-Fi hotspots. However, there will be no discount on the hardware for anyone paying for the monthly package, in stark contrast to the normal mobile phone model of subsidised hardware.

It's particularly disappointing when Apple is offering US customers (through its partner, AT&T) an all-you-can-eat data deal for just $24.99.

Orange is also offering a pay-as-you-go data deal, which costs a staggering 5p per MB or £50 per GB. Orange has imposed an upper limit of £40 per month for customers on the pay-as-you-go deal to prevent customers running up horrendous bills.

The Orange deals appear to be poor value when compared to 3G plans for the iPhone. O2, for example, offers a £25 per month deal with "unlimited" data and a discount on the iPhone hardware, albeit on 18- or 24-month contracts.

Apple UK iPad prices (all inc VAT)

Wi-Fi only

16GB £429

32GB £499

64GB £599

Wi-Fi and 3G

16GB £529

32GB £599

64GB £699

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