Apple puts China on the map for new product launch
Technology giant Apple appears set to introduce its latest products in Beijing next Wednesday, within hours of the company's anticipated launch of new iPhones in the United States.
It would mark the first time for Apple to schedule a product launch almost simultaneously in its two biggest markets.
Apple sent out invitations yesterday to select media for the event at China World Trade Centre Tower 3 in Beijing's Chaoyang district, while those for the US launch at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, were distributed on Tuesday.
"This should brighten everyone's day," the colourful e-mailed invitation to media read. Apple's spokeswoman in Beijing declined to comment.
Kitty Fok, the managing director at technology research firm IDC China, said: "This launch shows Apple's commitment to grow in the China market."
Next week's event would mark Apple's first major product announcement since October last year, when the firm introduced the iPad mini.
A research note published yesterday by Barclays said Apple was expected to unveil two new iPhone models, each with versions that support the mainland-backed 4G standard called time-division long-term evolution (TD-LTE) and the more widely adopted 4G standard known as frequency division duplex long-term evolution (FDD-LTE).
Speculation has been rife that the central government would initially grant 4G licences for TD-LTE networks by next quarter. Apple has been wooing China Mobile, which is set to build a nationwide 4G TD-LTE network, to become its next carrier-partner for the iPhone after China Unicom and China Telecom.
Barclays said the high-end upgrade, the iPhone 5S, should be available in three colours - black, white and gold - with storage options of 16 gigabytes, 32GB and 64GB. The lower-priced model, the iPhone 5C, will have the same storage options, but have a plastic casing and be available in five colours - black, white, blue, green and pink. It is expected to sell for US$350 to US$400.