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Tim Cook says 4G iPad mini hitting China by end of January

Apple's CEO has said the 4G iPad mini will reach China by the end of the month, and also had some kind words to say about Jony Ive.

It's already available in Wi-Fi-only versions, but a 4G iPad mini will launch in China by the end of the month, Apple boss Tim Cook has said.

His Cookness was speaking to Chinese news outlet Tencent, spotted by my colleagues at CNET News. He didn't give an exact date for the network-equipped tablet though, saying only "late January".

The Wi-Fi-only iPad mini launched in China last month alongside the iPhone 5, and has proved very successful indeed. It looks as though Apple wants to build on this success by launching more models, so it obviously sees China as increasingly important.

Cook is over there now in fact, visiting Apple partners and government officials. He'll also be dropping in to "take a look at the excellent local employees". Apple will launch 25 more shops in China, though Cook gave no indication of timescale. He also met with China Mobile, but declined to provide any details on what was discussed. China Mobile -- the nation's biggest network -- doesn't stock the iPhone 5 at the moment, so that could all change.

Cook also had a kind word or two to say about his colleague Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design (and who's responsible for software, following the Apple Maps farrago). Cook said working with Ive has been "the honour of my life". What a charmer.

He mentioned Steve Jobs, too. He and the late Apple co-founder may have had different personalities, Cook said, but they share the same goal of delivering "the most outstanding products [ever] manufactured".

Cook admitted Apple had had some trouble deploying its web-based services to China, but has discussed it with government officials, he said.

What do you think of Apple's push into China? Have you picked up an iPad mini? Is it better than the Nexus 7, or do you agree with our reader poll? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.