Everyone’s now taking it for granted that Apple will unveil the next generation iPhone(s) at a keynote event on September 10th. The company hasn’t yet sent out invitations, but with several high-profile and well respected industry experts confirming it, it would be surprising if that wasn’t the case.
During the event, it’s expected that Apple will announces its next flagship device: The iPhone 5S, which will then – more than likely – be released in stores and be available to buy in the US and other key countries 10 days later, on September 20th. One country that isn’t included in that initial rollout, allegedly, is China.
China has recently become one of Apple’s key markets and Tim Cook has made an effort to visit the country on more than one occasion since he took over as CEO two years ago. During his last visit he was said to have met with China Mobile’s chief executive to continue talks over the two companies forming a partnership, allowing the world’s most popular carrier to offer the iPhone on its network.
However, as in previous years, although a key market it doesn’t appear to be making the list of countries to be offering the iPhone 5S or 5C on opening weekend. China’s First Financial Daily (via CNET) reported today that the Chinese release date for the iPhones will be on November 28th. Over two months after the original release.
While many may have thought that China’s increased importance to Apple would require it to bring the iPhone as soon as possible, that doesn’t appear to be the case. At all. But then if you approach it from the perspective of of the localized market share, it makes a lot of sense. Apple’s iPhone makes barely 5% of the smartphone market in China, despite being such a large percentage of Apple’s own revenues. Of course, that’s mostly down to the fact that it is the world’s most populous country. 5% of the Chinese population equates to around 21% of the US’.
It’s seen as vital – if Cupertino wants to grow its presence in China – that it releases the iPhone 5C in China. At $300-$400 it becomes a much more attainable product for the consumers. And it’ll surely be a huge hit if Apple and China Mobile can strike a deal. Which looks all the more likely, especially as rumors are circling that Foxconn factories, where iPhones are made, are assembling an iPhone 5C with the TDD-LTE technology required to be compatible with China Mobile’s 4G network.
This year, more than any previous, is going to be a big year for Apple and China. If it manages to grab a larger portion of the market, perhaps this time next year we’ll see the iPhone launch there at the same time as the US, Central Europe, Japan and Australia.