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China Daily Website

Apple's new iPad unlikely to cause buying frenzy

Updated: 2012-07-13 19:58
( Xinhua)

SHANGHAI - The frenzied buying often seen on the debut of new-model iPhones and iPads may not repeat itself this time with the longer-delayed official launch of the third-generation iPad, dubbed "the new iPad," in China, analysts say.

The US electronics giant Apple has announced that its newest tablet will officially debut on the Chinese mainland on July 20, more than four months after it was first sold in 10 countries and regions, including the United States and Hong Kong.

Apple introduced the new iPad on March 7, which features a retina display, HD camera and faster processors. The new iPad is so far available in nearly 50 countries and regions.

The release of iPad 3 via Apple retail and online stores and authorized resellers in the Chinese mainland was announced after Apple agreed to pay 60 million U.S. dollars to Proview Technology (Shenzhen) to settle an iPad trademark lawsuit on July 2.

Last year, Apple officially launched the iPad 2 in early May, less than two months after its first worldwide release in the United States and several other markets.

Industry analysts said Apple can still achieve good sales for its new tablets, but the long delay could affect sales.

"Only a few Apple fans were willing to wait for so long for the official release," said Xiang Ligang, president of industry website "While for common customers, it makes no difference buying on the launch day or days or a few weeks later."

"I bring my child here to get a look at the Apple tablet," a woman surnamed Li said at an Apple retail store in Shanghai. "We'll buy a new iPad after the official release, but definitely not on the launch day," she added.

A sales representative at an Apple store at Joy City Mall in downtown Beijing said the new iPad has been released in many markets, particularly Hong Kong, and many Apple fans have bought the new-generation tablets through various other channels.

The new iPads have been on the grey market on the mainland for months and even at prices lower than the official launch prices.

Meanwhile, many customers also choose to buy iPad 2 as Apple have cut prices for its older models.

"Apple unveils new models each year and we could not afford to follow that," said Tian, another customer at the Shanghai store. "With lower prices, the iPad 2 is also a good buy."

Also the expected launch of Windows 8 tablets and a mini iPad in the second half of the year could also affect the sales of iPad 3, analysts said.

With the longer delay and other factors, the new iPad isn't widely expected to report new sales record, said Wang Ying, an analyst with Analysys International. But its sales figure would not at least look bad, she said.

China has grown to be Apple's second-largest market after the United States. According to the company, China contributed $7.9 billion, about 20 percent of Apple's revenues during its second fiscal quarter of 2012.

Market research firm IHS iSuppli forecast in a report that the shipments of tablet computers worldwide in 2012 could hit 124 million units, over 90 percent more than a year earlier, with Apple taking a 61-percent market share.