FORTUNE -- Replacing speculation with a press release, Apple (aapl) announced Tuesday that the new iPad will go on sale in mainland China Friday, July 20, exactly a week earlier than the rumor sites were confidently predicting only yesterday.
Apple plans to sell both the Wi-Fi-only and the Wi-Fi + Cellular models in its fastest-growing -- and perhaps most important -- market, a curious decision given that the 4G LTE technology Apple uses in the cellular models is reported to be incompatible with China's current LTE networks.
The devices will be available for pre-order on July 19 and sold through the company's Chinese Apple Stores, Apple's Online Store and unnamed authorized resellers at the same price points charged in the U.S.
Below the fold: The text of the press release.
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New iPad Arrives in China on Friday, July 20
CUPERTINO, California―July 10, 2012―Apple® today announced the new iPad®, the third generation of its category defining mobile device, will arrive in China on Friday, July 20. The new iPad features a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video. The new iPad still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life* while remaining amazingly thin and light.
The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model. The iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. In China the new iPad will be available through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), select Apple Authorized Resellers and by reservation from Apple retail stores. Reservation requests will be accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Thursday, July 19 for pick up the following day. Additionally, iPad 2 is available at a more affordable price starting at just $399 (US).
*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.