updated 10:23 am EST, Fri November 30, 2012
Marks rapid turnaround for Apple products in China
Apple has revealed the launch dates for several flagship products in mainland China. Wi-Fi models of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad will launch next Friday, December 7th. The iPhone 5 is scheduled to ship on December 14th, in keeping with recent expectations. No carriers have been announced, but it's likely that the country's current official carriers -- China Unicom and China Telecom -- will hold rank.
The dates represent an unusually quick turnaround for the Chinese market. In the past Apple products have often shipped to mainland China many months after arriving in the US, or even Hong Kong. By contrast, though, the iPhone 5 shipped to the US as recently as September, and the new iPads arrived there at the beginning of November.
China has become increasingly important for Apple as a largely untapped market showing rapid growth. Even in a country infamous for producing low-end Android tablets, the iPad has a 71 percent share; the iPhone, meanwhile, is in such demand that units have long been smuggled into the mainland from Hong Kong.