updated 10:55 am EDT, Fri July 22, 2011
Could be first simultaneous US-Chinese launch
At least China Unicom and China Telecom will be carrying the next-generation iPhone, claims Caixin. The Chinese analysis firm quotes an unidentified source. It adds though that China Mobile -- the world's largest cellphone carrier, with over 611 million subscribers -- will not be the first in the country to sell the new device.
Caixin further claims that Unicom and Telecom could sell a new iPhone as soon as the current quarter. The timing would be consistent with reports that a next-generation model will be announced in August or September. At the same time, China has never before had an iPhone launch in parallel with the US.
Residents of the country have normally been forced to wait several months for an official domestic launch. The delay has helped to fuel a massive gray market, which has even had an impact on US sales. Chinese gray market vendors have been known to use contacts in the US to buy iPhones and ship them overseas, making an already scarce product harder to find.