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China Daily Website

Apple to offer iPad Air in China on Nov 1

Updated: 2013-10-23 15:20
By SHEN JINGTING ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Apple to offer iPad Air in China on Nov 1

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Related: Apple unveils iPad Air, new Macs for holidays

Apple will offer its latest tablet computer iPad Air on the Chinese mainland on Nov 1, the same launch date as for the United States, but initially only Wi-Fi models will be available for Chinese buyers.

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new thinner and lighter tablet computer called "iPad Air" at a product event in San Francisco. The iPad Air is equipped with a 9.7-inch Retina display and weighs just 1 pound (0.45 kg).

According to Apple, iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the last generation iPad. Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing, said the new iPad Air is eight times faster than the original iPad that came out in 2010.

During the same event, Apple also presented a new iPad mini with a 7.9-inch Retina display. Both the newly launched iPads feature the Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, faster built-in Wi-Fi and expanded LTE cellular connectivity.

The new iPads will come in silver or space gray, Apple said, disappointing the market that it did not unveil a gold iPad as widely expected. The new iPad mini will be available globally later in November.

Chinese customers will get the new iPads next month in Apple retail stores. However, at first, only Wi-Fi models will hit the Chinese market. Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based telecom expert, said 3G iPad models have to wait for Chinese authorities' approval to sell in the country.

"Before Apple sells 3G iPads in China, the company needs to apply for licenses to get access to China's wireless networks. It is unknown whether Apple has got the licenses or not," Xiang said.

Liu Nan, an analyst with IDC China, said China is once again among the first batch of countries to sell Apple's newest products, reflecting Apple's recent focus on China.

"There is no doubt that China has great potential and therefore Apple has to invest more resources in it. But on the other hand, the increasingly intensified competition in China's tablet computer market also forced the US-based Apple to take it seriously," Liu told China Daily.

Apple saw its iPad shipments to China between April and June drastically halved from the previous quarter as Apple's competitors, both international and Chinese, build up market share.

Apple sold 1.48 million iPads in China in the second quarter, down sharply from 3.04 million in the previous quarter, with its market share in the country shrinking from 49 percent to 28 percent during the same period, according to statistics from IDC.

Samsung acquired 18 percent of market share in the Chinese market and was listed as the No 2 player during the period, while China's Lenovo Group was third by more than doubling its tablet shipment from the quarter earlier and taking 8 percent of market share, IDC said.

Xiang said Apple still has a tight hold on the Chinese tablet computer market. "In the high-end tablet computer sector, which sells products above 3,000 yuan ($500) per unit, Apple has a solid footprint that no other players can match," Xiang said. Most local tablet computer vendors target the low to mid-end market, he added.