Trading Markets, with a poor track-record for fact-checking (IMO), is out with a report today stating that Apple and China Unicom have now “clinched cooperation” on an iPhone deal (no surprise to iPhonAsia readers). According to the report sources, the deal will be announced on World Telecom Day – May 17th, the same day China Unicom will begin a trial launch of their new WCDMA 3G network in 55 cities.
The real news in the TM report is a rumored partnership between Apple and Baidu.com. No details were available on the Baidu “cooperation arrangement,” yet a wireless search deal is a logical guess. The sources for the report said both partnership announcements will be made on May 17.
iPhonAsia comment: May 17 is a possible date for announcements, but we would not be surprised if things are kept under wraps until June 8 (WWDC 2009 Keynote) … a good day and forum to unveil new iPhone hardware and China deals. iPhonAsia does not believe we will have any iPhone launch in China until mid to late summer. The important caveat is the prerequisite MIIT approval of new iPhone models.
If the Apple/Baidu partnership rumor is true, this further supports the thesis iPhonAsia has put forth in prior posts. Namely that several China wireless services would be favored for any official iPhone in China. For example, we believe that Youku will come pre-loaded on an iPhone for China and Youtube will not.