Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to release its third-generation iPad in China on July 20 as the global tablet market sees entry from fresh competitors.
Prices for Apple's device will range from $499 to $829, depending on memory capacity.
An Apple device compatible with China Unicom's (CHU, 0762.HK, K3ID.SG) mobile network in May received a network access license, a regulatory website showed, suggesting Apple was close to being able to sell its new iPad in China.
China is Apple's second-largest market behind the U.S., but the company has been slow to release the new iPad, which has already come out in most developed countries and many other developing countries including Venezuela and Malaysia.
The company didn't offer a reason for the slow release, but some have argued it is linked to an ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Hong Kong-based Proview International Holdings Ltd. (0334.HK) and its subsidiaries over the trademark of Apple's iconic tablet computer.
Apple sold 11.8 million iPad units in its most recent period, more than double from a year earlier. Apple began selling the third-generation iPad in March in the U.S., the first major product launch for Apple since the latest iPhone went on sale in October. Apple had said it sold a record 3 million iPads in the product's first weekend of sales.
Apple reported in April its fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 94% as the consumer electronics giant reported strong sales of its iPhone and iPad products.
Apple's competitors have recently entered the tablet arena in a battle for market share. In June, Google Inc. (GOOG) unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet, which will feature Android mobile-software, a seven-inch screen and camera. The tablet is available for $199, significantly less than the cheapest-available Apple iPad and on par with Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Kindle Fire device.
Earlier that month, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) unveiled the first tablet computer the company has ever made, indicating a strategy shift for the technology giant. The Surface tablet will run Microsoft's coming Windows 8 operating system on company-made hardware. Pricing and availability are not yet announced.
Shares of Apple rose 0.7% to $618.08 in recent premarket trading. The stock is up 52% this year.
Greenlight Capital Inc. President David Einhorn, in an appearance on CNBC on Tuesday, said Apple is "substantially undervalued" and that his hedge fund expects to continue to hold the stock "for a good while longer."
Write to Victoria Stilwell at Victoria.Stilwell@dowjones.com