China’s importance to Apple has grown over the past couple of years, even if the iPhone hasn’t taken a large chunk of the smartphone market there yet. Its importance has been further highlighted today as Apple sent out invitations to a special media event one day after the iPhone launch event in Cupertino.
The invitation looks exactly like the one sent out yesterday, except it’s not in English. Also, the destination is in Beijing’s World Trade Center on September 11th.
What’s perhaps interesting about this is that it seems Apple is holding a separate iPhone launch event in China for the first time ever. Like I wrote earlier, the country is of major importance to Apple. So, it’s not a huge surprise to see them gear an event towards a nation that represents a major area of growth. But, apart from hosting the event in Chinese, what could be announced that’s specific to China?
Possibly the two biggest clues are in the rumors surrounding the iPhone 5C. The low-end plastic iPhone was always said to be predominantly aimed towards the developing and fast growing markets in China, India, Russia and South America. But something tells me there’s more to it than that.
Tim Cook has been in China on at least 3 occasions as his company and China Mobile – the world’s most popular carrier – have been negotiating a deal. Last we heard, China Mobile’s chief said the two companies were keen to work out a deal and that the technological problems are no longer as big a stumbling block as they used to be.
Undoubtedly, a large portion of China Mobile’s 740,000,000-plus subscribers would love to get their hands on an iPhone. But, its network’s bandwidths were never compatible with any of the previous model iPhones. With Qualcomm having developed a chip that works with TD-LTE (China Mobile’s 4G) as well as all of its currently supported networks, that issue is pretty much non existent.
If Apple’s hosting a specific event in China, I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t to announce an agreement between China Mobile and Cupertino, with the iPhone 5C as the highlight.