updated 08:55 pm EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
First time iPad buyers will have access to China's limited LTE network
Apple has revealed that China Mobile and its other Chinese telecom partners -- along with its own stores and resellers -- are carrying a special model of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that is specific to the Chinese market, and compatible with the country's proprietary TD-SCDMA wireless standard, meaning new iPad buyers can now use the tablets on China's limited TD-LTE cellular network, which is mostly limited to the biggest cities. The Chinese iPads are separate models from the ones sold outside China.
Previously-unknown iPad models were spotted in the beta code for iOS 7.1, and the new Chinese-specific models are the likely explanation for the discovery. The Chinese iPad models are also compatible with GSM and UTMS, but may not offer support for EDGE, HSPA+ or DC-HSDPA as the non-Chinese models do.
They are otherwise identical to the worldwide models, and are priced starting at 4,488RMB (US $722) for the iPad Air with WLAN+Cellular, and starting at 3,788RMB ($609) for the iPad mini with Retina display WLAN+Cellular, both in the 16GB capacity. Each larger capacity is around $113 more expensive than the previous iteration.