Beijing's new product briefing a first for Apple
Updated: 2013-09-06 07:18
By Shen Jingting (China Daily)
Apple Inc will for the first time hold a new product briefing in China, with a news event set for next week in Beijing - almost simultaneous with the company's global event to be held in the United States on Sept 10, local time.
On Wednesday, Apple sent invitations to a small group of Chinese journalists for an event in Beijing's World Trade Center building on Sept 11, at which it is widely expected to unveil its next generation of iPhones.
The invitation is almost identical to the US version, but with characters in Chinese. It features circles in pastel shades of green, blue, purple, red and yellow, with an Apple logo in the center.
Below the image is Apple's tagline for the event: "This should brighten everyone's day."
Apple hasn't held such an event in China before, and the Chinese mainland was never on the list of first-day sales for new iPhones.
Some Chinese media outlets reported on Wednesday that for the first time, the Chinese mainland will be on the list of places that Apple approves to sell new iPhone handsets.
Apple declined to comment on those reports.
It is expected that Apple will introduce a new, improved smartphone called the iPhone 5S at next week's event, together with a low-cost iPhone device, dubbed the iPhone 5C.
The iPhone 5S will reportedly have a more powerful camera, with a range of different colored cases. The iPhone 5C will feature a plastic backing but offer essentially the same technological capabilities as the iPhone 5.
Apple's move signifies that the company is attaching greater importance to the Chinese market.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has visited China twice this year for talks with high-level officials of all the nation's telecom operators. Little of what they discussed has been leaked.
China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd did not reply to China Daily's questions on whether their corporate leaders would join Apple's Beijing event.
Currently, Apple has partnerships with two of the three telecom operators, but it hasn't yet reached an agreement with the country's biggest telecom carrier, China Mobile, to sell iPhones.
A long-awaited deal between Apple and China Mobile might be announced soon. China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua said in August that both sides have shown "a positive attitude" in the ongoing talks to launch an iPhone that can run on China Mobile's network. Xi declined to provide details because nothing had been finalized.
China Mobile has more than 740 million mobile subscribers. An agreement with China Mobile will help Apple open up a Chinese market as big as the total US iPhone market, which is shared by AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, said analyst Brian Marshall of ISI Group.