Well, the BBC promised us that an iPad version of the BBC iPlayer would be live by Friday, and it seems that it's beaten its deadline and made it live a day early.

iPad owners in the UK, on both US and UK models that have shipped a day early, can zip over to bbc.co.uk/iplayer to catch up on the last 7 days of the BBC iPlayer output.

Designed specifically for the iPad, the new iPlayer homescreen offers a quick link to the Highlights, Last Played and Just In, as well as letting you search for shows.

You'll also be able to browse via TV Channels, Categories and Most Popular with the interface having big enough buttons for fat fingers. There is also radio support.

Within the settings element you can change the quality depending on your connection from Normal to High Quality, although those hoping to get live streams of their BBC channels will be disappointed. Check out TVcatchup instead for that.

The news comes as the Beeb revealed earlier in the week a new-look BBC iPlayer, improved with more social networking functionality, which doesn't seem to have made it into this version.

Who needs dedicated apps?

UPDATE: the BBC has confirmed that it is planning on bringing the new social networking features to the iPad as well as detailing some of the things behind the scene:

"We decided that the best route to implement our video and audio player was playback using the html5 video tag. This allows us to integrate the native player into our site, where we serve two H.264 flavours, one 1500kbps for the high quality video (default), and a lower 800kbps you can use if you are bandwidth constrained.

"In any case, the result is the Beta version you can see right now - we really hope you like it - delivered by a small team of 5 within just 4 weeks and with the generous support of our FM&T colleagues despite being already busy with the UK election, iPlayer V3, and now the World Cup.

And don't forget, soon we will embark on incorporating the iPlayer V3 features for Bigscreen."

Exciting times.