Today Apple announced that it will bring the iPhone 5 and the Wi-Fi versions of both the iPad fourth generation and iPad mini to China in December.
The iPhone 5 will release in China on December 14 and it will come in both black and white with the same storage options as the U.S. models. Apple will also keep the same price structure as in China for the iPhone 5, the 16GB model will cost $199 USD on a two-year contract, the 32GB iPhone will sell for $299 USD, and the 64GB model will sell for $399 USD.
Apple didn’t specify which carriers in China will carry the iPhone 5, though it currently offers iPhones through China Telecom and China Unicom. China Mobile, the largest carrier in the country doesn’t carry the iPhone, though it might sell the phone eventually.
One week earlier, on December 7, Apple will start selling both the iPad fourth generation and iPad mini in China. Both devices are Wi-Fi only at first. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models will likely come out in China sometime in the future. Apple will keep the same pricing for both tablets as it has in the U.S. and will sell them in Apple stores, in authorized Apple retailers, and online.
Apple will let Chinese users reserve each of the devices online from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday for pick up the next day. Apple offers a similar reserve system for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini in the U.S., but it’s hours are later in the night instead of during the day when most people are at work.
China is the fastest growing market for Apple. Apple builds a number of Chinese services like Sina Weibo (a social network like Twitter) and Baidu (a Chinese search engine) into iOS to support its growing user base in the country.
Apple takes a longer time to release its devices in China partially due to supply constraints as the company has a hard time keeping stock of devices in the U.S. and other day-one release countries already. Apple also has to submit its devices to Chinese officials for review before it can sell them, which delays release.