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iPad Slated For August Launch In China

Plenty of smuggled and fake iPads -- many of them Android-based -- are already on the market.

China has the iPed, the Apad and a host of other copycat iPads, but it looks like the real thing may finally make an appearance in August, shortly after its July debut in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Media reports are quoting Apple's Asia Pacific CEO Lu Lei as confirming the launch, though a spokesman for Apple China said there is no clear timetable. Since the US launch on April 3rd around 2 million iPads have been sold globally, but so far they have been restricted to North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Thus far, Apple fans in China have relied on smuggled iPads, which sell from $700 (16GB Wi-Fi edition) to $960 for the 16GB 3G version. There is also a growing market for fake iPads, some of which were already in the market before the launch of Apple's tablet device. Many of China's manufacturers have been big users of Google's Android OS in their battle to win over consumers with lower pricing and a wide variety of features.

Apple also faced a similar problem with the iPhone in China, and seems to want to cut down the lag between the global launch of the iPad and its China debut in order to better support operators. The lag for the iPhone was about two years, during which a boisterous market for fakes and smuggled goods developed.

With 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models available, with Wi-Fi or with added 3G capability, there are a total of six iPads available. Like the iPhone, the iPad will use WCDMA as its 3G standard which makes China Unicom the only suitable partner in China.

The company says it has been testing the iPad already and expects to have special content from state-run television ready to go for the launch.

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