Apple Gets China's Approval to Begin Selling iPhone 6

Apple will have a huge potential market for the new iPhones in China, where there are more than 1.27 billion mobile subscribers.

iPhone 6

Apple will start selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones in China on Oct. 17 now that the company has received device security approvals from a Chinese government agency that earlier had expressed security concerns about the phones.

The new iPhones will be available in China through Apple stores and other stores throughout the nation, Apple announced in a Sept. 30 statement. Preorders for the new phones will begin in China on Oct. 10 from Apple's online store.

Customers will also be able to buy the new phones through the country's three major cellular carriers—China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom—across mainland China, according to Apple.

"We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology gave its approval for the new iPhones after Apple promised that it would never install "backdoors" to give other governments access to users' information, according to a Sept. 30 story by The Associated Press. "The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's announcement reflected Chinese unease about the reliability of foreign communications technology following disclosures about widespread U.S. government eavesdropping," AP reported.

The new iPhone 6 will be priced in China at $860 for a 16GB model, $991 for a 64GB model and $1,121 for a 128GB model, according to Apple. The larger iPhone 6 Plus will be priced at $991 for a 64GB model and $1,267 for a 128GB model.

Apple's supply chain and manufacturing partners for the iPhone line are ready to supply the new phones to the large China market now that the government approvals have been received, according to a Sept. 30 story by Reuters. "Apple's suppliers said the delay did not have an impact on production, and are confident they can keep up with demand when the new, larger iPhone models hit China," the story reported. "Analysts expect the phones to prove very popular with many of the country's 1.27 billion mobile subscribers, for whom bigger iPhone screens have long been on their wish lists."

The new iPhone 6 models went on sale on Sept. 19 to customers in the United States, and the device debuts were quickly followed by a few glitches.

Apple was forced to quickly come up with a new repair to its latest iOS 8 mobile operating system when the first iOS 8 update, version 8.0.1, was released on Sept. 24 and caused some iPhone 6 devices to lose the ability to make cell phone calls, according to an earlier eWEEK report. A fresh update, iOS 8.0.2, was released some 36 hours later to fix the problems that some iPhone owners experienced. The problems caused Apple to issue an apology to users as it turned around a working update very quickly. The original iOS 8.0.1 update had also disabled the Touch ID functions on new iPhone 6 devices, making life difficult for their owners.

The swift action by Apple to get a working update out to replace the flawed code is impressive, but the release of the flawed code in the first place had many critics online discussing how such a glitch would never have occurred under the leadership of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The bad update certainly hasn't been the only Apple issue on the minds of owners of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones recently. Some iPhone 6 owners around the world have been reporting that their thinner iPhone 6 phones are bending when keeping them in a pants pocket.

The bending issues were widely circulated online along with graphic photographs that purport to show iPhone 6 phones with mild or more severe bending. An accurate count of such bending incidents is not yet known. Images of bent devices are appearing on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, as well as other Websites.

The bending issues arrived on the heels of Apple's all-time record-setting first-weekend sales numbers for new iPhones since the first devices hit the market back in June of 2007. Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices on the first weekend after they went on sale.

The reported phone bending problem is not the first time that a potential problem has cropped up with new iPhones. In July 2010, Apple dealt with antenna issues surrounding its then new iPhone 4 that were inspired by consumer complaints of poor call quality when they held their phones. Called "Antennagate" by Jobs at the time, the problem was the location of the antenna inside the devices, which was solved with an add-on thin rubber case.