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The iPad's ability to browse online is generating much interest among consumers, according to an expert.

John Tearle, a Consultant in the technology division at market intelligence body TNS Research, said the tablet device from Apple is likely to be used primarily in conjunction with the internet.

He explained that while smartphones and the iPhone offer web services, it is generally not the same experience on a small screen.

"The iPad is capable of doing a large amount of things, but our research has shown that the main capability people are pulling out is its internet capability and large screen, while other features have had relatively few mentions," he added.

Earlier this week, 3 announced it was joining O2, Vodafone and Orange in launching data plans designed to be used with the iPad.

The company is offering a 1GB data allowance for £7.50, as well as a 10GB plan for £15.

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