Free iPads for European Union MPs?
Apple's iPad goes on sale in Europe Friday, at higher prices than in the US. But members of the European Parliament may get their iPad tablets at taxpayer expense.
The iPad is coming to the Old World!Skip to next paragraph
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The buzz is high, the orders are in, and early Friday morning, at that sleek Apple store at a European capital near you, the must-have gadget of the moment will finally be available. In fact, some have already been delivered in Britain today to customers who pre-ordered.
IPad prices are steep – between £429-700 pounds ($622 - $1,000). This is about 25 percent more than the prices of the same iPads available in the US, of which over 1.5 million have already been sold since they went on sale in early April.
But price tag notwithstanding, international demand has been tremendous, and Apple is opening it’s stores two hours early Friday in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK to accommodate what is expected to be a mad crush of buyers for the uber popular tablet computer.
736 iPads for European Parliament?
But not everyone will have to pay for their new iPad. According to a report in the Sunday Times, a certain number of special Europeans – the 736 elected Members of the European Parliament (MEP) to be exact – are going to be able to avoid the crush and the expense. They're getting a spanking new taxpayer-funded iPad - as a perk.
The report set off a storm of protest here that only served to raise the already extraordinary high hype around the product.
According to the Sunday Times, the European parliament’s administrative office has earmarked £4.3 million for an “IT mobility project” which involves getting a personal iPad for each of its MEPs – even though they were recently all equipped with new Hewlett-Packard laptops and are not all are even enthusiasts.