(Reuters) - Apple Inc’s popular iPad tablets finally hit Indian stores on Friday, nearly 10 months after its U.S. sales began, giving more options to customers in the world’s fastest-growing mobile market that is also seeing a surge in sales of smartphones and other high-end devices.
Apple is selling the iPad through its authorised resellers and partner stores across the country, an India-based company spokesman told Reuters.
Apple has priced the iPad in India between 27,900 rupees and 44,900 rupees ($612-$985), depending on the model.
The iPad model with 16 GB of memory that works only on Wi-Fi is priced at 27,900 rupees, while the one that can operate on both Wi-Fi as well as third-generation (3G) mobile networks costs 34,900 rupees.
Customers have the option to buy an iPad with 16, 32 or 64 GB of memory and can choose a model that works only on Wi-Fi or on both Wi-Fi and 3G.
The 64 GB iPad model that operates on both Wi-Fi and 3G costs 44,900 rupees, according to Apple’s website.
Apple first introduced the iPad in January last year and began sales in April. The company shipped a total 14.79 million iPads as of Dec 25 last year and research firm iSuppli expects 36.5 million to be sold in 2011.
The India launch comes at a time when the company is expected to announce in weeks the next version of the iPad, known as iPad 2. Last month, Asian manufacturers sources told Reuters that Apple was working on a smaller iPad tablet with built-in cameras that could ship early this year.
The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.
Apple’s iPad will compete in India with tablet computers from Samsung Electronics and Dell Inc who launched the devices in 2010. Samsung, which started selling its Galaxy Tab tablet computer in India in November last year, expected total industry tablet sales of 750,000 to 1 million units in one year.
India is the world’s second biggest mobile market after China with 730 million mobile customers, but the price-sensitive market is still small in base for sales of smartphones.