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New photo fuels rumors of TD-capable iPhone 5 for China Mobile in 2011

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
A photo purportedly showing an iPhone prototype running on China Mobile's current 3G TD-SCDMA network is being singled out Thursday as the latest piece of evidence to suggest Apple is nearing a "watershed" agreement to bring the touchscreen handset to the world's largest mobile carrier as early as September.

Several Chinese-character news websites, including sohu.com (translation) and mydrivers.com (translation), re-printed the unauthenticated photo, which depicts a device resembling an iPhone 4 with China Mobile's 3G logo printed in the upper right corner and running an unreleased version of Apple's baseband software carrying version number 06.10.01. The handset also lacks an IMEI number, which the reports suggest is an indication that the device represents an evaluation model.

Brian White, an analyst for Ticonderoga Securities who drew attention to the reports in a note sent to AppleInsider, said the photo supports his claims from last month that an iPhone 5 could come to China by as early as September, which would "represent a watershed for Apple" as the company would gain access to the largest wireless carrier in the world with 611 million wireless subscribers and 68% of the total China wireless market.

"Over the past several months, we have written about China Mobile's mysterious relationship with Apple that has allowed the company to support iPhone subscribers on its network without an official carrier agreement," he wrote. "For example, we have written about China Mobile's iPhone 4 SIM card cutting service, followed by the sale of a mini SIM card and then the retail sale of the iPhone 4 at a few select locations."

To this end, China Mobile during a conference call a few weeks back disclosed that despite lacking an official distribution and sales agreement with Apple, the carrier had identified roughly 4 million iPhones running on its wireless network. But a new report posted Thursday to chinabyte.com, which also published its own copy of the aforementioned iPhone photo, cites China Mobile chairman Wang as saying the number of iPhones running on his company's network exceeded 5.7 million (translation) as of May.

"Clearly, the growth of the iPhone on China Mobile's network is very impressive and yet China Unicom remains the only China-based carrier officially approved to sell the iPhone," said White, who maintains a Buy rating and $612 price target on shares of Apple. "Just think what could happen if China Mobile finally inks a deal with Apple."

As often noted, China Mobile currently operates a 3G TD-SCDMA network with 32 million 3G subscribers but Apple has not introduced an iPhone that is TD-SCDMA compatible. Therefore, if an iPhone 5 was released in September, it would need to support 3G TD-SCDMA in order to operate on China Mobile's 3G network because the carrier's 4G TD-LTE network is only just beginning trials this year.



Rumors of a long-anticipated agreement between Apple and China Mobile picked up steam last month after an employee of China Mobile reportedly posted and then quickly deleted from Weibo -- China's version of Twitter -- a statement that the carrier would be among the first to receive the iPhone 5 later this year.

The tweet came just hours after Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was reportedly spotted at the headquarters of China Mobile. Cook, who was believed to be talking with executives about an iPhone deal, was said to have been accompanied by 7 or 8 people, and both Chinese and American flags were said to be on display in the building's lobby.

Back May, China Mobile executives revealed they had reached an agreement with Apple to eventually support the carrier's fourth-generation TD-LTE data network with a future iPhone that would arrive sometime after 2011.However, no specific timeframe for the launch of such a device was given.

"We believe the ramp of the mobile Internet in China will be one of the great wonders of the tech world over the next decade and the country has clearly caught 'Apple fever"'that we believe will only accelerate as the company expands it carrier base to include both China Mobile and China Telecom," White said. "As the largest mobile phone market in the world with 896 million subscribers, we estimate that the high-end mobile phone market in China represents approximately 100-125 million subscribers or a revenue opportunity of ~$70 billion for Apple."
post #2 of 29
It looks a lot like a Samsung phone to me.
post #3 of 29
Who cares what the China does with or without an iPhone!
post #4 of 29
The most important question: Will the China Mobile logo make it to production models? I can't see Apple saying no to 611 million phones if CM demands it.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangeoutsider View Post

Who cares what the China does with or without an iPhone!

Why bother to post if all your going to do is make a bigoted remark?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by soubriquet View Post

i can assure you it is not. watch this space is all i can say

Who, may I ask, is here to assure us?
post #7 of 29
Isn't China-developed TD-SCDMA more or less a spy system!? Apple is FOOLISH to participate in that farce.

What is the point of supporting yet another standard that seems to add little value except continuing China's spying rights-restricting Communists? Why should (Chinese) government dictate what mobile telecommunications standard is used? It is the People's Republic of China's attempt not to use Western technology...

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TD-SCDMA
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Isn't China-developed TD-SCDMA more or less a spy system!? Apple is FOOLISH to participate in that farce.

No it isn't, and no they aren't. I suggest you actually read the link you posted.
post #9 of 29
lots of weird post here already...

All in all a China Mobile phone from Apple would be positive. So by the looks of it China Mobile will be getting an iPhone 4? Any proof that this model is a prototype iPhone 5 other than the headline of the article?
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

No it isn't, and no they aren't. I suggest you actually read the link you posted.

Some people are just bigoted and frankly racist nationalists. Given the current rate of innovation in China, they are/will be the predominate world superpower. Unfortunately, there are way too many Americans who live in a false sense of national greatness without even opening their eyes to what is happening abroad. America is still great, don't get me wrong, but we can't just rest on a false sense of pride. We need to continue to lead in the areas of technology and governance.
post #11 of 29
Oh, and I am an American and not a commie BTW.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

lots of weird post here already...

All in all a China Mobile phone from Apple would be positive. So by the looks of it China Mobile will be getting an iPhone 4? Any proof that this model is a prototype iPhone 5 other than the headline of the article?

Could even be a 3GS internally, depends what price point they're aiming at - also the external case it launches with needn't be the case they're testing it in. Apple have done things like that in the past to try to throw people off.
post #13 of 29
Look at the button closely. It looks like a Chinese clone, as opposed to an iphone. The button has a ridge. I also don't believe the next generation iPhone will be regressive in its design, so looks like a fake clone to me.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

The most important question: Will the China Mobile logo make it to production models? I can't see Apple saying no to 611 million phones if CM demands it.

If you mean on the device instead of in the software like AT&T, then no. Apple will never do this, and yes, they will say no to 611 million phones if they have to.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangeoutsider View Post

Who cares what the China does with or without an iPhone!



If you're an Apple stock-holder you care .
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

Some people are just bigoted and frankly racist nationalists. Given the current rate of innovation in China, they are/will be the predominate world superpower. Unfortunately, there are way too many Americans who live in a false sense of national greatness without even opening their eyes to what is happening abroad. America is still great, don't get me wrong, but we can't just rest on a false sense of pride. We need to continue to lead in the areas of technology and governance.

The stupid racially based remarks about China bother me also, but some of what you say here about innovation is nonsense.

... "(the) current rate of innovation in China" ? ... this is as close to zero as it can be at the moment.

Innovation is not about the production of goods, it's about original design and invention. China has almost none of that at the moment. Innovation also is far from the whole ball of wax. Japan has astounding levels of innovation and creative, new ideas and yet they are struggling economically.

China's economy is different from the US and Europe in two main areas at the moment:

1) They are struggling to even *have* a middle class to consume the goods they create.
2) They lack originality and innovation in the design and manufacturing of these goods.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

Oh, and I am an American and not a commie BTW.

Not a commie, but like most people, you're just a little over-awed by your own idea of China.

What is "the current rate of innovation" in China that you refer too?
Oh, the innovation being done by western companies with operations in China?
Or do you think manufacturing equals innovation?
The coming Chinese real estate bust?
The summer Olympics? Is that what your talking about?
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Could even be a 3GS internally, depends what price point they're aiming at - also the external case it launches with needn't be the case they're testing it in. Apple have done things like that in the past to try to throw people off.

This is very true.

I find it funny that the article immediately jumps to the conclusion that this is an iPhone 5 prototype without any proof of that claim especially when this could just as well be an iPhone 4 with TD-SCDMA (in much the same way the Verizon iPhone was an iPhone with CDMA not an iPhone 5 or 4S or whatever), or this could even be an entirely new lower cost iPhone prototype (an iPhone Lite of sorts for the Chinese market).

I personally don't think this is a Chinese clone device, but I'm not sold that it's an iPhone 5 prototype either, but we shall see what happens...
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

.... so looks like a fake clone to me.

That's why it looks like a Samsung!
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

The coming Chinese real estate bust?

I know this is off-topic, but I was shocked when someone showed me this video of China's real estate bubble...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPILhiTJv7E
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Isn't China-developed TD-SCDMA more or less a spy system!? Apple is FOOLISH to participate in that farce.

What is the point of supporting yet another standard that seems to add little value except continuing China's spying rights-restricting Communists? Why should (Chinese) government dictate what mobile telecommunications standard is used? It is the People's Republic of China's attempt not to use Western technology...

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TD-SCDMA

You do know that all digital traffic is monitored by your government?
You do know that US does not follow all telephone standards? The Verizon iPhone for example.

It's not Apple's fault if the leaders in a country make decisions you don't like.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

The most important question: Will the China Mobile logo make it to production models? I can't see Apple saying no to 611 million phones if CM demands it.

I could see Apple saying no to that. They have been in negotiations for years. Clearly, Apple is sticking to their guns and not just caving to the huge subscriber potential. Owning their brand is one of the most important things to Apple today.

And, by the way, that's not the most important question.

Thompson
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

I personally don't think this is a Chinese clone device, but I'm not sold that it's an iPhone 5 prototype either, but we shall see what happens...

I can't imagine they'd have bothered to try copying the OS that closely, especially when they can just use a freeby Android.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

Some people are just bigoted and frankly racist nationalists. Given the current rate of innovation in China, they are/will be the predominate world superpower. Unfortunately, there are way too many Americans who live in a false sense of national greatness without even opening their eyes to what is happening abroad. America is still great, don't get me wrong, but we can't just rest on a false sense of pride. We need to continue to lead in the areas of technology and governance.

Hard to lead when the US government's placing (some defensible but many bizarre) shackles on our leading companies and debasing our our currency while taking on future social promises that can't possibly be met even at exorbitant tax rates (which will further depress the economy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The stupid racially based remarks about China bother me also, but some of what you say here about innovation is nonsense.

... "(the) current rate of innovation in China" ? ... this is as close to zero as it can be at the moment.

You're simply factually totally wrong on this. China is already 2nd in the world in terms of R&D efforts. And they're not alone in mounting serious bids to be world leaders in tech, industry and design.

Quote:
Innovation is not about the production of goods, it's about original design and invention. China has almost none of that at the moment.

Interesting then that China wins so many of the contracts to build Apple's leading products....


Quote:
Innovation also is far from the whole ball of wax. Japan has astounding levels of innovation and creative, new ideas and yet they are struggling economically.

China's economy is different from the US and Europe in two main areas at the moment:

1) They are struggling to even *have* a middle class to consume the goods they create.
2) They lack originality and innovation in the design and manufacturing of these goods.

So where did they get the fastest trains in the world? Including the new designs that won't even have to stop at stations to pick up and discharge passengers? How did they manage the world's largest dam and river project? How are they becoming a leading force in green energy?

BTW, I'm also bothered by the racist, stereotypical (they're only "copycats") and xenophobic remarks about China and Asian societies in general, but it is worth pointing out that China and Japan are both notably racist and closed societies themselves in terms of dealing with other ethnicities....

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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

So where did they get the fastest trains in the world? Including the new designs that won't even have to stop at stations to pick up and discharge passengers? How did they manage the world's largest dam and river project? How are they becoming a leading force in green energy?

To be fair a lot of that was accomplished by negotiating technology transfer. The Chinese are certainly developing at amazing speed though, and the central government is throwing resources at huge engineering projects. Even if some of them, such as Three Gorges Dam, are subsequently a mixed blessing.
post #26 of 29
World's fastest train is the Shinkansen in Japan (which is not in China.)
Where did China get their very fast trains? in deals with companies that that have innovated fast trainscompanies in Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France.

R&D expenditure does not equal "innovation" any more than manufacturing volume does. The important thing with R&D is the results it produces not the time, effort, or money spent.

Apple's leading products are not "produced" by China. Some of Apple's products are assembled by Chinese workers in factories that are mostly owned and run by Taiwanese companies using components sourced mostly from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, or the US. The design, engineering, and production planning is done in the US.

Although China is progressing in technology in general, it has a very long way to go in the (industrial) design area. I've met some very talented Chinese designers (all trained in the US) but they tend to stay here rather than return to China.

China is coming along, but like Russia, it will have difficulty reaching it's potential in the absence of personal freedom and rule of law.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

World's fastest train is the Shinkansen in Japan (which is not in China.)

It depends. If you mean the test maglev track then perhaps they have the fastest, but that's not the entire network, it's just one little bit of track. It doesn't even currently run tourist trips, never mind a regular scheduled service.

The record for highest average speed on a regular scheduled train was held by France's TGV until 2009 when it was indeed taken by the Chinese who have a maglev train that's actually providing a service.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

It depends. If you mean the test maglev track then perhaps they have the fastest, but that's not the entire network, it's just one little bit of track. It doesn't even currently run tourist trips, never mind a regular scheduled service.

The record for highest average speed on a regular scheduled train was held by France's TGV until 2009 when it was indeed taken by the Chinese who have a maglev train that's actually providing a service.

You are correct, the Chinese do run their maglev, built by Siemens (a German company, ) in commercial operation at record high top speeds. Call me sour grapes, but the Shanghai line is only 20 miles long with no stops. It's a government subsidized show piece more than anything. Despite the blistering top speed, the average speed end to end is about 260 km/hr.

I wasn't referring to maglevs (I was limiting trains to things with tracks and wheels.) I thinking of the Tōhoku Shinkansen. To me scheduled speed between stops in regular commercial service is the most meaningful measure. In any case it looks like you are right the Chinese have been running their trains at higher speeds. I would point out though, that all the so called, "home built Chinese trains" use major component sets from Hitachi, Bombadier, Siemens, and other western companies. And although they have run faster in commercial operation in the past, all trains in China (except the maglev) are now limited to 300 km/hr, which is the same limit the Tōhoku Shinkansen has been running for years.

In any case, no matter what I or anyone else says about it, the Chinese high speed rail system is definitely remarkable, especially for me. Twenty-five years ago it took me two incredibly long, hot, dirty days to ride hard seat from Urumqi to Beijing. Earlier that year, the train I took from (was it Dali?) to Kunming used a coal fired steam engine (nice soft sleeper though.) So high speed rail in China is nothing short of amazing for me.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

To be fair a lot of that was accomplished by negotiating technology transfer. The Chinese are certainly developing at amazing speed though, and the central government is throwing resources at huge engineering projects. Even if some of them, such as Three Gorges Dam, are subsequently a mixed blessing.

No disagreement with anything you've said here.

My point was that many of the dismissive comments fail to realize the historically significant changes that are roiling through the Middle Kingdom. And to say that innovation is not in the Chinese character and mindset is incredibly short-sighted.

Japan also, for the record, began its post-WWII rise by adopting other technologies and then adapting them better than the original sources - and only later became a major force for innovation themselves.

Also, analogically, while we marvel at Apple here, Apple engineers the use of virtually all their components via some form of "technology transfer" as well - and no one - well there are some on these very forums would disagree, but in the main few claim Apple is not a force of innovation in the world, though they actually build very little and are barely in the component or manufacturing business themselves these days, outsourcing virtually their entire parts list and assembly work....

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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