Cellular-Enabled iPad Mini to Launch in China in Late January

iPad Mini Cellular China

Cellular-enabled models of the iPad mini will be available in China later this month, according to statements reportedly made by Apple CEO Tim Cook to Chinese reporters Thursday. Wi-Fi-only versions of the iPad mini launched in early December in the country, but stricter regulations delayed a cellular-enabled version while the company sought licenses from the Chinese government.

In the interview with reporters, Mr. Cook addressed the issue of product delays in China, where products are often released weeks or months after their introduction in Western markets. Mr. Cook’s comments, as roughly translated by Google:

I also very much hope that China and other countries to become the first listed market, but the reason why the night is slightly longer approval time. The past few years have been efforts in the hope to be able to shorten the approval time, but now can not reach other countries the same time-to-market and the Chinese government side. We will continue our efforts to try to shorten the time.

Apple in China, a lot of channels, for example, authorized dealer, to ensure that consumers can give Apple provides a very good experience and service, as well as Apple’s retail stores to provide consumers with the best quality service, which are our development of a power. So Apple has always hoped to be able to narrow or eliminate the parallel market, hoping to shorten or cancel the time-to-market of China and other countries listed, this is the case, it is better to let consumers get better service. This work has been a focus of Apple in the future will continue to increase and the cooperation of the Chinese government, to ensure faster access to Apple products to Chinese consumers.

It was reported that Mr. Cook later met with China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua, although details of their meeting were not revealed. Apple has long been courting state-run China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier with over 703 million subscribers, but has thus far not been able to reach an agreement.

Rumors late last year suggested that Apple’s demand for a strong subsidy on iPhone purchases was a major point of contention between the two companies. However, with some carriers in other parts of the world considering an end to device subsidies, and rumors mounting of an impending low-cost iPhone that would reduce the need for subsidies entirely, a deal may soon be reached with China Mobile to carry future versions of Apple’s flagship product.

With the news that the cellular-enabled iPad mini will be launching at the end of January, local media in China are also speculating that all of Apple’s devices will soon be available on the top three carriers in the country, a major win for the Cupertino company and the reason that Mr. Cook predicts that China will soon be Apple’s largest market.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.

[via The Next Web]