Posts Tagged ‘China iPhone’

2046528Apple’s iPhone managed to land in Hong Kong last year, but the drive across the Kowloon Toll Road to China is taking a bit longer. Antsy youngsters (media, investors and analysts) in the back seat want to know one thing… “Are we there yet Uncle Tim (Cook)?” …

Apple COO Tim Cook: “Um, not quite yet. The view is a bit hazy, but that sorta looks like Beijing. (Pointing East) See over there … It’s just over the horizon.”

Picture 2Okay, I took some poetic license. Tim Cook chooses his words carefully. During Apple’s (AAPL) recent Q3’09 earnings call, Broadpoint.Amtech analyst Brian Marshall asked: “Tim, any update on the iPhone in China?”

Cook’s response: “Nothing to add to date specifically, other than it continues to be a priority project and we hope to be there within a year.” (i.e. it could be tomorrow … or it could be 12 months from now)

Okay… Before a tantrum breaks out in the back-seat, let’s get back to the kids’ most urgent question… When?

Picture 1Just my super wild-ass guess, but I’m now looking for a deal announcement sometime in late Summer ’09 and an iPhone launch in the Fall of ‘09. What’s the basis for this SWAG?  Mostly a game of clue by the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (that would be Moi’ who previously predicted we’d be launched by now):

apple_unicomClue 1: Multiple different reports and sources lead me to believe that Apple’s negotiations with China Unicom were successfully concluded in late Spring 2009. You can chalk up the delay in a formal deal announcement to logistics (e.g. testing, licensing process, WCDMA network rollout and new model iPhone build) and perhaps some China telecom industry politics.

Clue 2: Press reports along with some documentary evidence, suggests that a new model iPhone was submitted to China’s authorities for mandatory “testing” sometime in late Spring. The MIIT’s testing process can take several months to complete. Foot-dragging by the MIIT might help China’s carriers to deploy their own Android-based phones + new WVAS + new mobile operating systems before iPhone is launched.


crystal-liu-pic-0014Clue 3: Multiple reports that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) will soon begin full production of a custom iPhone for China. This model will not have WiFi (due to WAPI/WiFi issues) but will likely come preloaded with several “for China” apps. Foxconn has given this iPhone a code name – “Model 90.” There is a very high probability that Model 90 is the same “yet to be unveiled” iPhone model (A1324) that China granted (in early June) a Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC). This new iPhone is still pending the mission-critical Network Access License (NAL).

Clue 4: Initial production of Model 90 was confirmed in a tragic and highly unusual fashion – the July 16 suicide of a Foxconn worker charged with the responsibility of shipping 16 “Model 90” prototypes to Apple. One of the “Model 90” prototypes went missing (circa July 10) and this led to a very unfortunate chain of events that ended quite tragically. Many other bloggers and journalists have weighed in on this story, so I won’t delve into it any further here.

3609103536_3e314978d8Clue 5: Another reason why an iPhone launch might need to be pushed to Fall of ’09 is “manufacturing constraints.” That’s analyst speak for they can’t build ‘em fast enough to meet robust demand. Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) is now committing substantial resources to build iPhone 3GS, and this may take priority over production lines for the new model for China.

Clue 6: While China Unicom’s WCDMA 3G network was successfully launched on May 17, it will take several months before service is fully deployed. China Unicom rolled out the first 55 cities on May 17. On June 30, China Unicom announced the rollout to an additional 44 cities. All major cities should be lit-up by September/October with blanket WCDMA 3G coverage by year-end (284 cities).

Clue 7: China Mobile and China Unicom will launch their first proprietary Android-based phones (OPhones/UPhones respectively) + their new mobile OS and enhanced wireless value-added services (WVAS) circa August/September ‘09. China’s carriers may want to have their own “answer to iPhone” ready by the time the MIIT grants iPhone its NAL. In case you’re wondering … yes, China Unicom will be in “coop-it-ition” (cooperation + competition) with Apple. They want iPhone to “go huge” to bring in new subscribers, but they also desire new product/service offerings of their own.

To sum up… logistics and politics may push the iPhone deal announcement out to late Summer with a launch in China coming sometime in the Fall. But it will happen this year! So says Inspector Clouseau.

jingjing10“Are we there yet?” …

“Almost … watch another Olympics video on your iPhone and before you know it we’ll be there.”


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Tencent Tech News is reporting today that Apple’s iPhone is just a matter of weeks (two specifically) away from test results that are prerequisite to MIIT’s issuance of a Network Access License.

As part of the approval process, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) requires that all handsets be tested by China’s Telecommunication Technology Labs (CTTL). Tests can take several months. Apple’s iPhone for China (Model A1324) has received only one (1) of the two (2) required MIIT licenses:

  • Issued (five-year model approval) – Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC)
  • Pending – Network Access License (NAL)

More background > http://iphonasia.com/?p=5586

Here is the Google translation of the key except from Tencent Tech News report (Thanks @Chassit) >

iphone-china-unicom-111Tencent Tech News July 10, a media company for China’s 3G market, especially the customized version of iPhone mobile phone in recent days has been sent to the Department of Public Works letter Gentile laboratory, according to informed sources revealed that Tencent Technology, Apple iPhone is Tell the Department of Public Works letter of the network laboratory testing, the fastest growing network in two weeks will be able to get permission.

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iPhonAsia comment: Here (below) is the editor’s reply to a post on AppleInsider re the Nano iPhone. Note that iPhonAsia considers the Nano iPhone to be an outside chance, albeit more evidence is coming in each day to support its existence. But we do see two (2) new iPhone deals in PRC in 2009. One with > China Mobile and the next with China Unicom.

Originally Posted by iVlad View Post
“But why not regular iPhone?”
Originally Posted by Pachomius View Post
“IT’S CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR!!! This is the phone that they will start selling in China. That explains everything.”

iPhonAsia reply:

This is total guesswork but …
This all begins to make more sense if you consider that the Nano iPhone 
might have been specially built for China Mobile.

There are many reasons why a “Nano” iPhone does not make sense (e.g. screen too small, at least by Western Standards) … yet there are reasons why it might fly in the Far East . Consider that this could be a low price “customized” model designed in concert with China Mobile (see >”customization” for back story re Accenture’s involvement). This model would be EDGE 2.75G and TD-SCDMA 3G ready and would support Monternet – China Mobile’s VAS platform. No iTunes, no AppStore, no WiFi. China Mobile is building their own app store and they are subsidizing all “TD ready” handsets authorized in China. Of China Mobile’s 400+ million users, approximately 290 million are pre-paid users (no contract). Many pre-paid users aspire to iPhone but cannot afford without a price incentive (China Mobile subsidy to go on contract). 

This rumored deal to build a customized TD iPhone for China Mobile flies in the face of Apple’s model for doing business with all other world carriers. In many ways it’s hard to fathom and I wouldn’t blame anyone for saying “no way!” However, this customized model may be a pre-requisite for doing business in China’s highly controlled handset market. China Mobile’s parent company CMCC is majority state owned (by China) and they need to get the new TD-SCDMA network off to a fast start. It has been a struggle thus far and cool handsets are key to user adoption. 

IMHO Apple will not do an exclusive deal with China Mobile. The next deal TBA will be with China Unicom , who will be launching their W-CDMA 3G network mid-May 2009. This will be a more standard model iPhone 3G, which already supports W-CDMA 3G.


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Update November 18, 2008: Youku has developed an iPhone web app allowing users to log in to Youku and watch videos directly on iPhones. What is unknown is whether Apple will eventually embed (pre-install ala YouTube) software on an iPhone built for China. China Unicom has apparently suggested to Apple that Youku would be their preference versus YouTube.  

More via Marbridge Consuulting > Youku to Be Embedded in 3G Handsets

South Daily, 11/04/08

Victor Koo, CEO of video-sharing site Youku, recently revealed that Youku has already started cooperation with several 3G handset manufacturers to bring Youku content to mobile devices. These efforts are still in their initial stages, however Youku has already developed a special version of its site for Apple devices such as the iPod and the iPhone. Youku has also recently announced plans to cooperate with Lenovo Mobile on mobile video, and embed software on Lenovo handsets that can allow users to log in to Youku and watch videos directly on Lenovo phones.

Koo also claims Youku had no revenues last year, but began to earn revenue in the first half of this year. The company is experiencing double-digit revenue growth each month, and expects more than RMB 100 mln in profits next year.

According to Youku CEO Victor Koo:
“Youku has invested significant resources to create a variety of user experiences for Chinese Internet video viewers,” said Youku’s Mr. Koo. “With Youku’s iPhone web app and mobile applications made for Chinese 3G mobile phones on the TD-SCDMA network, users can watch more than 161 million videos on Youku anytime and anywhere they want.” More > HERE

EXCERPT: In 2007, Youku.com’s traffic exploded from 5 million video views per day to 100 million per day. That growth, based on internal data tracked for the company by China Rank-Nielsen, drew advertisers including Coca-Cola, Honda and Lenovo. As advertisers look to capturing a market even bigger than China’s 250 million Web surfers — specifically, its 600 million cell phone owners — Youku will be going mobile. 

Victor Koo, CEO of Youku

By the second half of 2009, when Koo predicts China’s long-awaited 3G wireless standard will gain traction at last, Youku aims to be ready. Koo is in talks with Apple about developing content for their iPhone, not yet available in China.

Full Article > HERE

More about Youku > HERE


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Young Beijing Bedouins’ modern mobile lifestyles

China is leading the global pack in modern mobile lifestyles. Young Beijing Bedouins have the cheapest, coolest and fastest cell phones and wi-fi gadgets in the world. Today’s Chinese kids are super cyber-connected and savvy to the latest technology, whether it be the latest iPhone or aWorld of Warcraft video game.

By Valerie Sartor
China.org.cn columnist

Full article > HERE

EXCERPT: Modern technological gadgets: young people love them and older people are trying to get used to them. For my grandmother cars represented the height in mobility; for me watching television and later riding in a Boeing 747 started me dreaming about traveling to other parts of the planet. But China’s youth doesn’t have to go anywhere to be deemed urban gypsies: today’s technology allows them to communicate with others anywhere in the world instantly — and it’s getting better, faster and cooler as each year passes.

The American thinker Lewis Mumford started writing back in the 1950s about machines as extensions of human consciousness and the consequences of technology upon human societies. In the 1970s Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian media and communications specialist highly influenced by Mumford, wrote that the “medium is the message”– communications technology affects the thinking process — and ultimately the way humans organize as social units. McLuhan predicted that everyone would become a “global village citizen”when linked decisively by electronic technologies. His premise stated that technology would create a new age with one collective human identity. But McLuhan specifically stressed that we should remain aware of the media’s cognitive effects because every global village has the potential, due to human frailty, to become totalitarin and full of terror.

Today’s youth has grown up with technology, incorporating computers and cell phones into their ordinary lifestyle. Significantly, in Beijing almost every young person I know owns a laptop and a fancy cellphone — these kids are part of the generation I term contemporary nomads because they have the capacity to travel through cyber space and communicate with other people living around the globe. Only limited by their gear and their gadgets, these Beijing Bedouins travel light: the city is full of cyber-oases and cell towers that cater to their crowd. As modern migrants they seem more interested in cyber-connectivity than in travelling across geographical spaces, although many of the curious and able do cross national boundaries to explore other regions of the globe.

Blackmarket iPhone in Beijing China  

Chinese young people rejoice that wireless data connections seem to be getting better all the time. Cellular networks are faster and more reliable. Short-range Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up in ever more places. And a new generation of wireless technologies is already poised to take over, creating wild concepts such as “ultra-reality” that confuses old folks like me but delights the Beijing Bedouins. Yet I like cell phones. When I was younger mobile phones were already widespread, but found mostly in cars because they were so large and clunky; they were used almost exclusively for voice calls. Connecting them to the Internet and even to computers was still unknown when I was thirty.

Full article > HERE
In photo below, a Chinese girl holds up a hacked Apple iPhone that is illegally on sale for USD570 at a computer centre in Shanghai, 16 January 2008. 



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