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Apple launch iPad in Spain

Fri 28th May 2010

Apple Inc. began it's European crusade earlier today, launching the iPad in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Germany – to be followed in July with Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The major European mobile networks, including Vodafone, France Telecom SA's Orange, Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile and Spain's Telefonica SA have already announced data plans for the device.

In the U.K. customers will pay £7.50 a month for 1GB of data a month on Hutchison Whampoa's 3 network, while 10GB a month on the Orange network will cost £25. Pay-as-you-go and daily price plans will also be available. The tariffs are expected to similar throughout Europe. Apple's suggested retail price for the product in the U.K. is £429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, rising to £599 for 64GB, and between £529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi/3G rising to £699.

European electrical and computer retailer DSG International PLC has an exclusive deal to sell the iPad tablet computer in its U.K. stores from Friday. DSG, which owns the PC World and Currys retail chains, will sell the device from 139 of the company's stores after agreeing a 60-day exclusivity deal with Apple. DSG already has designated areas set aside in its stores for the display and sale of Apple products.

Carolina Milanesi, head of research at Gartner Inc.'s mobile-devices team, the iPad is in a "totally different category of products," and while other manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. are eying the still-modest market, right now "there isn't a rival." Gartner forecasts world-wide sales of between 10 million and 15 million for touchscreen tablet products this year, the majority from iPad sales.

Speaking on European sales, she said the U.S. is still the biggest market for the Apple's iPhone, but the combined five largest markets in Europe are now close behind, and she expects a similar proportion for iPad sales.

Adrian Drury, principal analyst for media, broadcast and telecoms at researcher Ovum, said he thinks Apple has another hit on its hands with iPad, with the firm's supply chain possibly restricting numbers this year.

This follows news earlier this week that is due to open it's very first Spanish store in Valencia later in the year.

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