The new iPad have been finally approved for sale in China, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple can now officially launch its latest tablet in the country, even though its mobile infrastructure is largely oriented around 3G speeds and isn’t ready yet to make a switch to the third-gen iPad’s enhanced 3G and LTE networking technologies.
A roll-out of LTE 4G service isn’t expected to be complete in China for another two-three years. However, Intel and Huawei were recently greenlit to test TD-LTE technology, and Hong Kong can already take advantage of LTE service. The tablet’s LTE radio is tuned for U.S. and Canada LTE frequencies and isn’t available on most LTE networks around the world, which has created unpleasant situations for Apple in some markets.
The device isn’t actually listed at China’s Certification Center as the 2012 iPad, but instead identified as an Apple product with “model number A1430,” which is the number of the new iPad. Approved devices typically go on sale in the country a couple of weeks after formal notice. Although Apple won approval for the Wi-Fi version of the tablet at the end of March, the company seems to be waiting until both models are approved before offering them in China.
China will be one of the last major countries to lay hands on the new iPad, although no explanation for the delay has been given. Apple is currently battling Proview in Chinese courts over the iPad trademark. Proview’s main argument against Apple is that the company allegedly obtained the trademark through a division that wasn’t authorized to resell it and thus has no rights to the name. The California device maker has had mixed success in the country’s courtrooms on the issue, but claims it has evidence of legal purchase of the iPad moniker and that Proview isn’t honoring their deal.
Most recently, the two companies were encouraged to reach a settlement rather than continue their legal combat. A ruling in Proview’s favor could prevent Apple from selling its tablet in China and mess up the bigger picture, halting shipments of new iPads across the globe.
Apple has shown increased interest in China, constantly expanding its operations in the market. Over the last year, revenue from the country has tripled, with iPhone sales growing fourfold to make China one of the key sources of income for Apple, despite its minor share.
The company is already selling the latest iPhone models in the country, where the handset is available on two carriers, China Unicom and China Telecom. The largest carrier in the country, China Mobile, hasn’t added the iPhone to its lineup yet, but is reportedly negotiation with Apple again to carry the device. At the moment, China Mobile is said to have 15 million “grey market” iPhone users, who are so far limited to 2G data.
Once it hits the market, the new iPad is expected to bolster sales of 3G data contracts in China. In the country, demand for Apple’s third-gen tablet was so strong, that grey resellers were lined up in front of U.S. Apple Stores at the new iPad debut to buy the tablets and smuggle them back into China.