Apple has sent out press invitations for a special launch event in China on the same day as its Californian launch event.
According to Sina, Apple sent out an invitation to Chinese news sites for an event at 10am on September 11 in China.
Where the US event invite promises an announcement that “should brighten everyone’s day”, the Beijing event invite promises a “dazzling” day for China.
The news prompted The Register to speculate the tech giant would either finally launch a version of its iPhone that works with China Mobile’s proprietary TD-SCDMA network, would hold a second launch event for the low-cost iPhone in China, or was releasing more of its services in the Middle Kingdom.
A TD-SCDMA version of the iPhone would be a significant announcement, as China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with an estimated 700 million subscribers, a subscriber base roughly twice the population of the US.
Currently, Apple’s iPhone devices are not available in TD-SCDMA versions, making them incompatible with China Mobile’s 3G and 4G networks.
While the iPhone is available in China through China Mobile’s competitors, including China Unicom and China Telecom, negotiations between Apple and China Mobile have stalled for years over the topic of revenue-sharing between the two companies.
This, in turn, has limited Apple’s ability to penetrate the lucrative Chinese market.
However, Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu downplayed the significance of the event when contacted by Reuters.
“Apple has hosted satellite events in London and Tokyo in the past. It will be a broadcast of what happened in California,” Wu says.
In late January, Apple chief executive Tim Cook met Cook met with China Mobile’s chairman Xi Guohua to negotiate the release of Apple iPhone on China Mobile’s network.
As SmartCompany reported in November, analysts estimate that Apple has fallen out of the top five smartphone vendors in China, holding just 8% of the market. A second survey showed that Android smartphones have claimed around 90% of the smartphone market in China.