The Apple iPad 3G has passed a major regulatory hurdle in China and is expected to launch soon on China Unicom, China's second largest carrier and exclusive network to Apple China.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology listed a generic Apple model number "A1337" under its list of approved items, with specs suggesting the Apple iPad 3G.
Apple and China Unicom were unavailable for comment, but have declined to comment in other publications. There is no word as to when the iPad 3G will actually hit stands in China as the device has to pass several more tests.
Currently Apple offers the iPad Wi-Fi in China. It sold 125,000 units in China during its launch month in September, according to the WSJ. Meanwhile anticipation is still rife for the 3G model, to the extent that one city even organized housewives to act as mules for smuggling in the device from overseas.
But despite the numerous iPad copycats and hype, and the iPad's success in the U.S., analysts expressed concerns over the iPad's performance in China.
"[The] iPad 3G tablet is less attractive than iPhone 4 for China Unicom in a short term, since more pressure on its 3G network flow will be added without considerable revenue," Zhu Jinsong, an analyst with China Galaxy Securities Co, told the China's Global Times.
He Lin, a Gartner analyst, told the Global Times that China's high 3G taxes might hinder the slate's performance. Furthermore official Apple products cost around 20 percent more on the mainland than they do overseas.