Apple Rumors: Sept. 10 Expect a China Mobile–Ready iPhone
Apple, a notoriously secret-keeping company, seems to be having trouble keeping insiders' lips sealed. Bloomberg has joined those pointing to Sept. 10 as the date the world can expect Apple's next big reveals.
"The new iPhone will be unveiled at a Sept. 10 event, according to a person with knowledge of the plans who asked not to be named because the timing isn't public," Bloomberg reported Aug. 13.
At the event, Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone (or two), running the iOS 7 platform that it introduced at its June Worldwide Developer Conference.
Later, at a second event, Apple will show off "updated iPad models, including an iPad with a thinner body design and an iPad mini with a higher-resolution screen," Bloomberg's sources added.
Japanese tech site Macotakara reported Aug. 12 that the expected Apple event will take place Sept. 10, and that Apple will introduce a high-end iPhone 5S and a lower-end, colorful version called the iPhone 5C.
Global Equities Research analysts expect the new iPhones to be slimmer than the iPhone 5 and to instigate a "massively successful" launch, they said in an Aug. 11 report.
Others fear that the lower-cost 5C (or whatever Apple decides to call it) will be enticing enough to cannibalize sales of the higher-end model.
"While Apple's [record low average selling price] demonstrates the need for a new flagship model," Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in an Aug. 14 report, "it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too. Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4, at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalization will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4."
Apple, however, has never shied away from making a product it believes in out of fear of cannibalization. Back in January 2011, then-CEO Steve Jobs laughed off the suggestion during an earnings call, saying that if the Mac team was a separate company from the iPad team, and trying to make a device to compete with the iPad, what it would build is the MacBook Air.
"Cannibalization is not something that we're spending one minute on here," Jobs said.
Revenue, however, is something Apple executives think about, and on that front the company may be poised to benefit from China Mobile's new 4G network.
China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world, and the only carrier in China—the world's No. 1 market for smartphone sales—that doesn't sell the iPhone.
The companies have been in negotiations for some time—Apple CEO Tim Cook was in China in January, and then again in July—but China Mobile's particular flavor of 3G technology has been incompatible with the iPhone's technology. The TD-LTE network it's readying to launch, however, will change that.
The lower-cost new iPhone, which will use a new Qualcomm chip, will work on the network, Reuters reported Aug. 15.
"By offering a mid-market Apple smartphone, China Mobile, which has 740 million users, could draw in more sophisticated, data-crunching subscribers to grow net profit that last year was only 15 percent higher than in 2008, when Apple opened its first store in China," said the Reuters report.
Carrier China Unicom has recently seen iPhone sales fall, the report added, due to their high cost. A midtier iPhone could change that.
In January, Cook told members of the press in China, "China is currently our second-largest market. I believe it will become our first. I strongly believe that."