Christmas is coming and as surprising as it may be, the Apple iPad has been searched on Google more often than Apple's iPhone 4 over the past 30 days as more people are considering buying the tablet for themselves or as a gift.
A few things have changed over the past few months that have convinced us that the Apple iPad is not actually not a bad purchase. In absolute terms, the iPad is an excellent piece of technology but has carried a high price tag since launch.
However, prices have come down; well technically, Apple is still selling the cheapest iPad for £429 but you can very easily slash that amount using a combination of vouchers and cashback sites; The Viking Direct one being the most worthy of them all, allowing you to save £72 off the price of the 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad.
Then there are contracts which allow you to get the iPad for free. 3 UK, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange have already confirmed that they will be offering the iPad on contract which is essentially a cheaper way of getting your mitts on the device.
The T-Mobile/Orange deal will see the cheapest iPad sold for £199 with a monthly fee of £25 per month that gives you 1GB of data and we expect that 3 UK will introduce an even cheaper package by the new year.
Of course you can find other tablets around but to be honest, they fail in a number of ways; the Advent Vega is a worthy competitor at almost half the price but suffers from a number of shortcomings and can hardly be purchased because of stock issues.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is great but is still expensive and has a screen size half the size of the iPad. The rest of the field has failed to bother Apple at all (Toshiba Folio 100, Viewsonic Viewpad and others).
Then there's the fact that the new iOS 4.2 has brought a number of vital features for the iPad that were originally missing. These include folder management, multi tasking, Game Center, find my device, AirPlay and AirPrint, unified inbox and much more. Some commentators have even said that the new features make the Apple iPad a new device altogether.
Since the launch of the Apple iPad, thousands of new apps for the tablet have been developed. Many of those have taken advantage of the main selling point of the iPad, namely its 9.7-inch XGA touchscreen, delivering anything from breathtaking games to iPad only magazines like Virgin's "Project". These apps, either free or paid for, have been pivotal to the success of the iPad.