Apple chief Steve Jobs announced at its launch that the iPad 2 would cost the same in the US as the first version did. For once we feel the benefit of being in Blighty -- we pay £30 less than the original iPad cost when it first came out.
That means £399, £479 and £559 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models respectively; and £499, £579 and £659 for the Wi-Fi and 3G versions. All models of the iPad 2 are currently available from the UK Apple Store.
You can still get your hands on a cheap first-generation iPad, too. Apple has dropped the prices while stocks last to £329, £399 and £479 for the Wi-Fi models, and £429, £499 and £579 for the 3G and Wi-Fi models.
You won't find the old model at the Apple Store, but it's on sale for exactly the
same prices at Argos, Handtec, John
World and Tesco, which all sell the new version as well. This might be a handy option if you have one of their loyalty cards.
If you fancy the Wi-Fi and 3G version of the iPad 2, you'll need a SIM card to get it connected over 3G. That means buying a contract or pay as you go deal from a network, just like you would for a mobile phone.
Several of the networks are offering iPad 2 deals. Most
of them are around the same price -- £25 per month, plus a wodge
of cash up-front, starting at £229 for the 16GB iPad 2 3G.
them all, and concluded Three
is the best bet, because it offers more data. If you're already a customer of Three,
Vodafone, Orange or T-Mobile, you could save £30 off the up-front cost of the iPad 2 by
sticking with them. O2
is selling iPad 2 data packages, but not the tablet itself.
If you can afford the full cost of the iPad 2 3G right away, however, you'll pay less over the long run by buying the SIM card separately. Our pick of the SIM-only iPad data deals is also from Three. It offers 1GB of data for £7.50 per month, or 10GB of data for £15 every month.
Another option is to buy a Wi-Fi only iPad 2 and tether it wirelessly to your phone when you're not in range of a Wi-Fi network. With this method, you use your phone as a wireless hotspot to share its 3G data connection with the iPad 2.
Most Android phones offer a Wi-Fi hotspot feature that doesn't require any extra setup, although you should keep an eye on your data allowance to make sure you don't end up going over your monthly limit. The recent software update to the iPhone 4 introduced the same feature, which Apple calls "personal hotspot". But, unlike Android, you'll probably have to pay more to use it, so check out our summary of the best iPhone personal hotspot deals.
Update: Latest pricing and availability information added on 4 April.