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That was quick.
Just last week, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) finally put that pesky iPad trademark infringement suit behind it, settling with near-bankrupt Proview Technology. The small company sued the Mac maker earlier this year, claiming it still owned the iPad trademark in China, despite selling it to one of Apple's shell holding companies set up to mask its true identity.
After settling the dispute for $60 million (about 1,090 times more than the original $55,000 it paid), Proview is now satisfied and the bout is concluded. In the meantime, Apple had yet to launch the newest version of its iPad in China after unveiling it in March, and many had suspected that Apple was waiting to settle these iPad trademark disputes in the region before proceeding, so as not to complicate things further.
The device had already gained regulatory approval back in March, so clearly Apple was waiting for something. With the Proview settlement, the company has moved quickly and has now announced that the new iPad will be available in China later this month on July 20.
With Greater China sales exploding over the past few years to $13.3 billion last year, bringing the newest version of its tablet to its hottest market will pay hefty dividends, just as Apple is preparing to announce its own dividend.
This year has seen some important milestones with Apple's strategy in China. The Cupertino company kicked off 2012 by adding China Telecom (NYSE: CHA ) as the second official iPhone carrier, and there's a very good chance it will bring China Mobile (NYSE: CHL ) into the mix by the end of 2012. That would represent partnerships with the three largest wireless carriers in the country.
By year's end, Apple will probably see its two most important products, the iPhone and iPad, widely available in China. It should be a good year.
The Apple-in-China storyline is one of many reasons Apple may have more room to run. If you sign up for our brand-new premium Apple research service, you'll get an in-depth detailed report and free quarterly updates. Sign up now.