iPad arrives in the UK

It’s been a day Apple enthusiasts have been waiting what feels like an eternity for – the iPad is now officially available in the UK, as well as much of Europe, Australia and Japan.

Its arrival has been delayed following strong demand in the US that put pressure on Apple’s manufacturing capacity.

The nation’s Apple stores, as well as plenty of other consumer electronics outlets, opened their doors early as 8:00am this morning as queues formed outside a number of key London locations.

As has become the norm for new Apple launches, there’s also been widespread coverage in the media, with the BBC in particular giving plenty of attention to the device’s arrival.

Some customers were lucky enough to receive their pre-ordered iPads yesterday, though those opting for the 3G model have reported some problems with mobile phone operators who were unprepared for the early arrival.

The UK launch comes just one day after Apple became the largest tech company on the planet, overtaking Microsoft for the first time in over 20 years.

The shift in power mirrors recent developments in the tech industry. The rise of free software providers such as Google has put an increased strain on high-end software providers like Microsoft, shifting the focus to hardware – an area Microsoft has never excelled in.

At the same time, Apple has managed to match the high-end tech appeal of devices such as the Mac Book and iMac with mass-market consumer devices like the iPod, iPhone and – Apple will be hoping – now the iPad.

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