With just 60 days to go until the Apple iPad launch, and following a US-only launch event, there is much speculation as to where the UK sits with the Apple iPad. Both with regards to the release date, and the price.
First, let's take a look at the release date. Apple announced "within 60 days" for the WiFi model and "within 90 days" for the 3G model. We assume that the 3G model will take slightly longer because it has to undergo FCC certification in the United States.
Apple should have released the Apple iPad to the world - including the UK - by Sunday 28 March. Obviously Sunday is something of an odd launch date, and the last few iPhones have been released on a Friday so we think the 26 March is a likely bet if Apple takes it right to the wire. But, of course, it could come sooner than this if Apple decides to launch early.
The 90 date wait for the 3G model will take you all the way up till Tuesday 27 April 2010. Apple frequently releases products on a Tuesday, so this date seems appropriate. We think Apple will have planned the announcement with the FCC certification period so, to our minds, this date would probably be a bit more permanent (the WiFi unit may have some leeway depending on production).
So that brings us on to the issue of pricing in the UK. As many Macworld UK readers know, Apple products are uncomfortably high in the UK, and the prices have risen as our exchange rate has fallen against the dollar.
We've seen a lot of fuzzy maths today in the newspapers, who have taken the US price and - in the best case - added 17.5% VAT, or in the worst cases translated it verbatim somehow assuming that VAT no longer applies in the UK and have put this down to Apple just being expensive (we're looking at you, The Metro).
A good rule of thumb is to take the US price, convert it to the UK price using the daily exchange rate, add on the 17.5 per cent VAT, then add on another 7 per cent or so (Steve Jobs said during the iPhone launch that this was simply because "it's just a bit more expensive to do business here store stuff, ship stuff around".)
However, we've found a better rule of thumb is to take a product on the US store that matches the US price you're looking at, then find the same product on the UK store and see how much it is. The more recent the product the more accurate the price. Apple sets prices locally, but they tend to match up prices across the entire product range. We used this system to accurately predict the original iPhone launch price (£269) and we've used it now to gauge the Apple iPad pricing in the UK.
We're not saying this system is perfect, and Apple might give-or-take a few pounds in either direction. But this is an 'educated' guess rather than a stab in the dark. This is pretty-much where we expect the Apple iPad to sit. We will update our readers when Apple UK announces the exact price.