Apple iPad coming to the UK from next month

Apple iPad

The UK Apple website has made its iPad splash page live, and it's a mix of good and bad news.

Definitely falling in the former category is Apple's promise that all versions of the iPad will be shipping to the UK by mid-April, with the non-3G versions on their way as soon as the end of next month.

At the iPad launch event last week, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced that the US version of the 3G-enabled iPad would be available through AT&T next month, but would only confirm that negotiations with international carriers were ongoing, with a loosely predicted launch date of around June. It seems those negotiations have gone well.

Apple itself isn't divulging any specifics at this stage, but if one source is to be believed, O2 and Orange could be two of the networks involved.

Gadget website Electronista is quoting a source with connections to Dutch micro SIM supplier Gemalto as saying both networks have placed "bulk orders" for the cards recently, while T-Mobile has also made a significant order recently.

The 3G iPad uses the little-known micro SIM form factor, which is set to be phased in more widely over the next few years as a replacement for the traditional full-sized SIM card.

However, when it comes to another iPad innovation touted by Jobs last week iBooks the news appears less positive. Apple's take on the e-book store was a central part of Jobs' iPad presentation, but if the UK iPad page is anything to go by, it looks like we might miss out altogether.

Despite proudly proclaiming that every one of the App Store's 140,000 apps will run on the iPad, there's not a word about iBooks at this stage. Time will tell whether this is because details are still being hammered out, or because iBooks have been ditched altogether to get the iPad to market faster. At this stage, Apple isn't saying which theory is correct.

We're also still waiting on final prices for the UK iPad. However, like in the US we'll at least be be getting all six versions of the slate, starting with the 16GB entry-level Wi-Fi model (which costs $499 in the US), going up through 32GB ($599) and 64GB ($699) versions, with the 3G editions costing $130 more in the US.

Those interested in the latest UK iPad news can register for updates on the Apple website.