Apple's China media event fuels speculation of quick iPhone launch, China Mobile deal

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The news that Apple will hold its first-ever iPhone media event in China has generated expectations that the company has something big up its sleeve, such as a sooner-than-expected launch of new models in that country, or perhaps a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest carrier.



Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has repeatedly identified China as a crucial market that will play a key role in his company's future growth. But competitors such as Samsung and Lenovo have had more success in China recently.

For that reason, it's been speculated that the Chinese market is one of the key reasons Apple is planning to release a new, more affordable iPhone model with a plastic back. And this week, Apple sent out invitations to members of the press for a media event on Sept. 11, a day after Apple is set to debut its new iPhones in the U.S.

While that event is expected to simply be a rebroadcast of the company's keynote presentation, the fact that Apple is holding a media event in China for the first time has fueled speculation that the company may be planning something big for that market.

Two theories shared by The Wall Street Journal include a day-and-date launch of new iPhone models matching their debut in the U.S. and other large markets, as well as the possibility of an agreement with mega-carrier China Mobile. The latter has been an obstacle for Apple for some time, as China Mobile is the world's largest carrier with more than 700 million active subscribers.

Cook himself is said to have traveled to visit with the head of China Mobile on a number of occasions in an effort to forge a deal. But sticking points have remained, including the fact that the carrier would like to receive a cut of software sold on the iOS App Store.

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Some have suggested that Apple may even be willing to make concessions in order to make the iPhone available on China Mobile. In particular, China Mobile is interested in keeping the devices it offers affordable, as it serves hundreds of millions of poor rural subscribers, according to Bloomberg.

As for the launch date, Apple is expected to make its new iPhones available on Friday, Sept. 20, based on past release schedules. One rumor from last month claimed that government regulation could hold up the launch of new iPhones in China until late November, but now market watchers are hopeful that Apple could make those devices available in China much sooner.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    19831983 Posts: 1,224member
    [QUOTE]But sticking points have remained, including the fact that the carrier would like to receive a cut of software sold on the iOS App Store[/QUOTE]

    What chutzpah! I say f...k um! But of course Apple won't, especially with Tim Cook at the reigns.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    rissriss Posts: 47member
    With decreasing subsidies in Western markets, making a cut from app sales would be a dangerous precedence... even with 700 mio customers at stake.

    This could be the tipping point for Apple and end of their reign if they would give in.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I hope this wouldn't mean a longer wait to get my new phone down in the Southern Hemisphere if they prioritise China...

    They're usually pretty good with making sure there's at least some stock for the keen ones in the secondary launch countries, but after three years since I got my ip4 (RIP) and now borrowing a 3GS w a cracked screen I'm not feeling very patient...
  • Reply 4 of 15
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    http://www.techinasia.com/breaking-china-telecom-reveals-iphone-5s-5c-real-coming-china/

    Hmm..I can't imagine Apple releasing iPhone in China before the rest of the world. Perhaps it will be a launch day country (which would be huge). But China before everyone else, no way.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    jakebjakeb Posts: 559member

    I can't imagine they'd allow a cut of app sales. Every carrier would then want it. 

  • Reply 6 of 15
    cmfcmf Posts: 62member
    [QUOTE name="1983" url="/t/159360/apples-china-media-event-fuels-speculation-of-quick-iphone-launch-china-mobile-deal#post_2390334"]
    What chutzpah! I say f...k um! But of course Apple won't, especially with Tim Cook at the reigns.[/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE name="Riss" url="/t/159360/apples-china-media-event-fuels-speculation-of-quick-iphone-launch-china-mobile-deal#post_2390338"]
    With decreasing subsidies in Western markets, making a cut from app sales would be a dangerous precedence... even with 700 mio customers at stake.


    This could be the tipping point for Apple and end of their reign if they would give in.[/QUOTE]

    This is the danger with outside companies trying to do almost anything in the Chinese market, cultural norms of how business gets done are literally (and figuratively) worlds apart. Chinese carriers seem to think that they have the ability to either dictate terms of a deal or get a cut of the profits made off of their users by an outside company. When the iPhone launched internationally in 2008, overseas carriers only had to look at the relative demand from the customers for the phone and they signed on the dotted line. You would think that opportunity to upgrade almost 750 million users to faster (and more expensive) 4G service would be a no brainer and they would sign on, but no.

    The whole thing reeks of nationalism and arrogance (surpassed only by Samsung - but that's a whole other discussion)

    In addition, there is the whole problem of pricing in this market which makes me think the entire effort by Apple to build Mac and iOS features specifically for China is a fool's errand. Bloomberg says the growth in China has been driven by sub-1000 yuan phones (~$163) - to most phone makers and carriers (Apple included), that's towards the low end of the market. If the iPhone 5C does materialize next week, Apple will need to be really aggressive on price or they may end up excluding many of the subscribers that China Mobile wants to move to 4G service.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    But sticking points have remained, including the fact that the carrier would like to receive a cut of software sold on the iOS App Store.

     

    It's simple what to do at this point. Kill China Mobile. Apple needs to do everything it can to destroy the company. If they're too stupid to understand how things work, they need to be punished.

  • Reply 8 of 15
    cmfcmf Posts: 62member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    http://www.techinasia.com/breaking-china-telecom-reveals-iphone-5s-5c-real-coming-china/



    Hmm..I can't imagine Apple releasing iPhone in China before the rest of the world. Perhaps it will be a launch day country (which would be huge). But China before everyone else, no way.

     

    Right with you, there. As much as people like to say that the US market is saturated in terms of smartphone demand, an argument can be made that it is (and will continue to be) Apple's most important market. After all, nobody ever asks why the US is always a launch country for iPhones. (Aside from the obvious reasons)

     

    By launching new products in the US first, Apple gets the answer to a simple question: Is the product viable?

     

    If it doesn't sell here, I have a hard time believing that the reaction in China or anywhere else will be dramatically different. Apple doesn't really do "Big in Japan" type stuff, so I think they would consider it a failure on some level if a product flopped in the US but was a hit somewhere else.

  • Reply 9 of 15

    Crush them! Apple doesn't need China, China desperately needs Apple.

  • Reply 10 of 15
    All of you are Americans are you? Hrd guess...

    Well, Apple is american and all. However, the business model may not be viable in all places. And neither does what works in US work all over the place. Neither does it work forever.

    For Apple to continue to grow they need to continue to be strong in US and at the same time grow across the world.. China happens to be the largest country on earth with a growing middle class.

    I say Apple needs to launch across the world simultainlesly (or as close to as possible). And they may have to re-evaluate business models sometime. Is it now? Do not know. But the world changes and Apple need to adopt. They have before and I trust they will again. After all, business model is not everything for Apple. Important but I think values, innovation and a few other things may be even more important than say percentages in a transaction with the by far largest mobile operator to hunt down.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Originally Posted by tumme-totte View Post

    However, the business model may not be viable in all places. And neither does what works in US work all over the place.

     

    It's viable with all other Chinese carriers. China Mobile deserves no special treatment, nor will they receive it.

  • Reply 12 of 15
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    It's viable with all other Chinese carriers. China Mobile deserves no special treatment, nor will they receive it.


    IIRC China Mobile has recently started to LOSE customers to the other, iPhone carrying, services.

     

    Coincidence? Perhaps not.

  • Reply 13 of 15
    Did you say losing customers? It seems they grew by some 30 M subs last 6 months. I don't say it's conclusive, but it does not look like they are shrinking.
    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/30904/width/200/height/400[/IMG]
  • Reply 14 of 15

    Suddenly it makes sense. iPhone C is for iPhone China.

  • Reply 15 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    palegolas wrote: »
    Suddenly it makes sense. iPhone C is for iPhone China.

    Suddenly? That has been said from day one, when the plastic boxes showed up weeks ago.
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