Sir Richard Branson has expressed his admiration for Apple and its founder Steve Jobs, joking that he'd consider merging his Virgin empire with the tech giant.

Branson, who was in town to check out the new Virgin Media TiVo box, told TechRadar and T3 of his love for Apple as a company, with the iPad 2 already on his wishlist.

When asked about the biggest name in technology, Branson needed no time to think.

"Steve Jobs," he answered. "I hope he gets through his current illness. He's the entrepreneur in the world I most admire and I think [Apple] is the brand I most admire."

Comeback king

"[Jobs] is the greatest comeback artist as well. He's twice been down and out and fought his way back and created a brilliant global company.

"Everything he does is real class and if he wants to rename his company Virgin Apple I'd be happy to merge! It's a great brand and a great company and may he get well soon.

"…it sounds like he may not be coming back [to work], and he really has done incredible things; he's got a great legacy."

iPad 2

Branson told us that he is already looking forward to getting hold of the iPad 2, with its predecessor quickly becoming his favourite gadget.

"I recently discovered the iPad and I'm looking forward to discovering the new iPad," he said

"[The original iPad] is fantastic and we recently launched the magazine 'Project' which is very good.

"Whether Apple can stay ahead of the game with all the competition with Google [Android] and putting it on every single bit of electronic equipment I don't know.

"There's a possibility that Apple won't reign supreme indefinitely."