A little over a week after finally settling its iPad legal case against Proview to the tune of $60 million, Apple today is delivering some more good iPad news in China: it’s going to start selling the new iPad on the mainland starting July 20.
The Retina-display-enhanced model will be priced starting at $499 for the 16GB model ($629 with cellular access) (3,176 yuan), $599 ($729 with cellular access) for the 32GB device and $699 for the 64GB version ($829 with cellular access). At the same time, it has reduced the price of the older iPad 2 to $399. These prices are in line with what Apple is charging for the tablets in the U.S. — although given that the per-capita income in China is significantly lower, that price will feel a lot higher to the average consumer.
Still, that has not deterred people from buying Apple products so far: In its last quarterly results, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook called sales of the iPhone in the country “mind boggling.” In total the company’s revenue from China in the quarter totalled $7.9 billion, a three-fold rise over the year before.
As with its previous iPad models, Apple will sell the tablets online, through authorized resellers and in its chain of Apple retail stores, with reservations for pick up beginning on July 19. It is starting its reservation system with only a three-hour window between 9am and noon every day.
Previous launches of iPad and iPhone devices in China have sparked a crazy response from enthusiastic consumers, with huge crowds and aggressive scalpers causing Apple to actually halt sales at one point when it launched the iPad 2. Since then, Apple has opened more retail locations, and will have probably set up more careful systems to try to avoid the same thing happening again.
It looks like the settlement of the Proview suit was the final barrier to Apple going ahead with the launch of the new iPad in China.
Older models reportedly had been seized by authorities at the height of the last dispute, and whether Apple actually had an injunction on the sale of the newer model, it would have wanted to avoid a similar situation with the newer model — a situation that would have proven embarrassing and the opposite of the kind of positive hype Apple likes to have buzzing at all times.