Cook says iPad Mini with cellular to hit China by end of month

Apple CEO Tim Cook also says that his company plans to open several more stores in China.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
2 min read
CBS Interactive

Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised Chinese customers an iPad Mini with cellular by the end of the month.

Speaking to news outlet Tencent (translation), Cook said the iPad Mini with cellular functionality will be coming to China "in late January." He declined to provide an exact release day.

The iPad Mini with Wi-Fi launched in China on December 7. Since then, the device has proven extremely successful, with Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White saying last month that consumers in China and Hong Kong have "an insatiable appetite" for Apple's smaller slate.

"Prior to the China launch, we indicated that the iPad Mini would be the 'next big thing in China' and we believe this phenomenon is starting to develop," White said in his note to investors. "In our view, the smaller form factor and lower price point will allow Apple to sell the iPad Mini in more meaningful volumes versus the regular-size iPad."

Although the iPad Mini will be capable of connecting to 4G networks, they're not ubiquitous across China. However, 3G networks are, making it easy for users to connect to the Web while away from a Wi-Fi signal.

Cook's discussion didn't just end with the iPad Mini. Here's a quick recap of the other things Cook had to say in his discussion with Tencent:

  • He's in China (for the second time in 10 months) to visit Apple partners and Chinese government officials. He also plans to "take a look at the excellent local employees."
  • Cook says that Apple plans to open more than 25 retail stores across China. He didn't say how long it will take to hit that goal.
  • Cook declined to provide any details on a meeting he attended with China Mobile earlier today. A China Mobile spokesman told Reuters that Cook visited the carrier's headquarters to meet its chairman and discuss "matters of cooperation."
  • Cook acknowledged that Apple has faced some difficulty getting its Web-based services to China in a timely manner, but said that he has spoken with government officials to discuss the topic.
  • He mentioned Steve Jobs in his interview, saying that while he and Apple's late co-founder have different personalities, they share the same goal of delivering "the most outstanding products manufactured."
  • Lastly, Cook mentioned Apple senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan Ive. He said that working with Ive has been "the honor of my life."

(Via TUAW)