Apple is tapping into the online market's huge potential with the introduction of the Apple Store in China, allowing Chinese customers to shop online for Apple products, including the iPhone 4 and the iPad tablet device.
The online Apple Store also offers custom-configured Macintosh computers as well as a selection of third-party products. It is the only place online to buy the iPod nano Project (Red) edition, from which a portion of the sales goes to raising awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.
"We are thrilled to open our newest online store in China," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer. "With personalized engraving, configure-to-order options and free shipping on everything, the Apple Store is a great destination for our customers in China."
Seeking to garner sales momentum for the upcoming holiday shopping season, the online Apple store in China is also offering signature gift wrap, available with the purchase of most Apple products, including the iPod, iPad and iPhone. The online Apple Store also lets eligible students and faculty members take advantage of special education pricing on Apple products.
Also starting this week, customers in China can access Apple's App Store in Simplified Chinese, with localized featured applications and charts of the most popular paid and free applications in China. The App Store offers iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users access to the catalog of applications with more than 300,000 applications in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.
The iPhone 4 became available to Chinese customers in September through the company's retail outlets in China, including the new Apple Store Hong Kong Plaza in Shanghai and the new Apple Store in Beijing, which opened the day the iPhone 4 hit the market. The device retails for CNY4,999 (approximately $750) for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 (approximately $900) for the 32GB model without a contract. The iPad tablet also went on sale in China in September; Apple offers a 16GB, 32GB and 64GB model.
Earlier this month, the company introduced two new MacBook Air notebooks, thin, lightweight notebooks relying on solid-state disk-storage technology. Available in two sizes-an 11-inch model with an 11.6-inch high-resolution LED-backlit display and a weight of 2.3 pounds, or an 13-inch model with a 13.3-inch display and a weight of 2.9 pounds, the 11-incher starts at $999, while the 13-incher starts at $1,299.
At the thickest points, the notebooks are 0.68 inches; at the thinnest, 0.11 inches. They feature precision aluminum unibody enclosures for better durability, and include full-size keyboards and glass Multi-Touch trackpads, FaceTime cameras, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics and SD card slots. The 13-inch MacBook Air gets seven hours of battery life and 30 days of standby time.
Earlier this month, Apple reported record revenue of $20.34 billion and net profit of $4.31 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 25. This compares with revenue of $12.21 billion and net profit of $2.53 billion in the same period last fiscal year. During the quarter, Apple sold 3.89 million Macs, a 27 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, and 14.1 million iPhones, up 91 percent from a year earlier.