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iPad on sale in China after suit settled
A happy iPad buyer in Beijing. Picture: AP

Apple has released its newest iPad in China after settling a lawsuit over ownership of its name.

Watched by security guards, a few dozen shoppers waited outside stores in Beijing and Shanghai this morning.

Sun Xufei, a 32-year-old computer technician who was the first customer in line in Shanghai, said he had put off buying an iPad so Apple had time to develop "a perfect one". He, like the other customers, had pre-ordered his device.

The 30 customers in line when the store opened were outnumbered by the reporters watching them.

"I am very surprised to see there is nobody here waiting," Sun said.

Apple cleared a potential legal hurdle to the release the iPad when it paid $US60 million ($A57.75 million) to settle a dispute with a local company, Shenzhen Proview Technology Ltd, over ownership of the iPad name.

Apple said it bought global rights to the iPad name from Proview in 2009 but Chinese authorities say the rights in China were never transferred.

China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States.

Qu Hongyu, a 20-year-old university student in Shanghai, expressed frustration that Apple waited four months after the new iPad debuted abroad to release it in China.

Ms Qu said she could have asked a friend abroad to send her one, "but I think it's better to get the product here because I don't want to owe somebody a favour".