With China a key market for Apple’s future growth, the iPad manufacturer will begin selling the third generation of its tablet in the country beginning July 20.
The announcement comes a week after Apple settled a trademark dispute with Shenzhen Proview Technology, a manufacturer of Chinese PCs and displays. Apple agreed to pay Proview $60 million to use the iPad name in China. The Guangdong High People’s Court announced the settlement on July 2.
China, Apple’s second-largest sales market and the country with the world’s biggest population, will sell the iPad through the Apple Online Store, authorized Apple retailers and in the company’s retail stores.
Apple revealed on July 10 that it will sell the iPad WiFi model at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64MB. In addition, Apple will sell the WiFi + Cellular in a 16GB version for $629, 32GB for $729 and 64GB model for $829. The iPad 2 will be available starting at $399.
A Retina display is a highlight on the new iPad, and Apple says the screen contains “four times the number of pixels in iPad 2 and a million more than an HDTV.”
“The new iPad, with the Retina screen, will be important in the China market, where the relatively small percentage of the population who can afford an iPad will want the latest and best,” Ezra Gottheil, a senior analyst for Technology Business Research, told eWEEK in an email.
China has proven to be an important market for Apple. Apple CEO Tim Cook got a bit of press for his visit there with Chinese officials in March.
“This is big for Apple,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst with The Enderle Group, wrote in an email. “This is the one country where they have been unable to sell directly to customers and the fastest-growing market.”
China became the world’s largest market for smartphone sales in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm Canalys.
“This launch comes close to completing worldwide availability of the new iPad, and should help iPad sales as China is a market of increasing importance to Apple,” Gottheil said.
Apple’s iPhone revenue in Greater ChinaChina, Taiwan and Hong Kongwas $7.9 billion, which is about 20 percent of its total revenue for the fiscal second quarter, Gottheil noted.
When Apple’s iPhone 5 reportedly debuts in October, the handset will operate on China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G network, according to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu.
Prior to the launch of the iPad in China, Apple drew attention for its inspections of facilities for Foxconn, which builds Apple products. The Fair Labor Association (FLA) agreed to conduct voluntary audits of Apple’s assembly suppliers at Apple’s request.
As Apple begins to sell the iPad in China, it will look to avoid the fraudulent Apple stores that appeared a year ago this month, according to the Washington Post.
“The iPad availability itself is only a small part of the big story of Apple’s growth outside of mature markets,” said Gottheil. “Since the iPhone and the iPad became available worldwide, Apple’s revenue, which had been largely confined to the Americas, Europe and Japan, began to grow significantly outside those markets.”