updated 09:30 am EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
China Unicom quiet on support
Apple has announced plans to launch 3G models of the iPad 2 in China, which will join existing Wi-Fi options. The new hardware will go on sale Wednesday, made available through Apple's online and retail stores as well as authorized resellers. Prices have yet to be made public though, and Apple's only Chinese carrier partner -- China Unicom -- has yet to acknowledge the rollout. Unicom is in fact the only carrier in the country which can make use of the HSPA 3G supported by the iPad 2.
The addition of 3G options may be especially important in China, where Wi-Fi access is less consistent. For many people an iPad may be also a more affordable alternative to a standard notebook or desktop computer, given comparatively low wages.
The 3G iPad 2 will be on the Chinese market for only a few months before the expected launch of the iPad 3 in the US and several other countries, possibly including China. In particular the next-generation tablet is expected to premiere in March or April, as with its predecessors. Features should include a faster processor, a 2048x1536 display and a thinner and more powerful battery.