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iPad 3: British consumers 'already sold on new Apple tablet'

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The iPad 3 is the most popular choice among prospective tablet consumers in the UK, despite the product not actually being confirmed by Apple.

The US firm is to hold a press event in San Francisco at 10am US time (6pm UK) today to announce the next model of the iPad, leading to speculation that it will either be the iPad 3 or an iPad HD model.

Research by YouGov has indicated that just over a quarter (26%) of British people who expect to purchase a tablet hope to buy the iPad 3, even though all they know about the device is rumour and speculation.

The iPad remains the de facto choice for two-thirds of British tablet consumers, and the majority of these people either expressed a preference for iPad 2 or iPad 3 models.

In contrast, tablets running Google's Android operating system were not found to be anywhere near as popular.

Only 6% of customers wanted to buy the Amazon Kindle Fire, the seven-inch screen toting tablet that has proved a hit in the US but is still not available here, and just 5% fancied the Samsung Galaxy Tab range.

Staff at the Apple store in Covent Garden, London, to open as the iPhone 4S goes on sale
Russell Feldman, the associate director in YouGov's Technology and Telecoms team, said that the iPad is still the brand to have.

However, he added that there is scope for Apple's rivals Google and Microsoft - which will soon launch its touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system - to challenge in the future.

"The tablet remains synonymous with the iPad and Apple continues to dominate the market with nearly three quarters (73%) of the owner base," he said.

"Whilst a plethora of Android tablets are trying to compete, success has been limited outside of Samsung. Our view is that there are opportunities here for both Amazon and Microsoft to challenge in the future."

YouGov's survey of 4,119 UK consumers found that only 16% of respondents intended to buy a tablet within the next two years, and only 8% felt they would do so in the next three months.

Just under half of the 567 confirmed tablet fanciers wanted a product with both WiFi and 3G capability, while around 27% favoured WiFi-only, which YouGov said was down to concerns over the upfront price difference and ongoing cost of a 3G contract.

Digital Spy will be covering Apple's iPad press event at 10am PST (6pm GMT). Stay tuned for our live blog.

> iPad 3/iPad HD launch: The rumours roundup

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