updated 11:45 am EST, Tue November 8, 2011
Focus currently on LTE model, sources say
Apple is in "no rush" to make a TD-SCDMA iPhone for China Mobile, says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. Wu's industry sources claim that Apple has actually been beta-testing TD-SCDMA-equipped iPhones for a while. Because of success with current official carrier China Unicom, however -- as well as over 10 million unlocked iPhones on China Mobile, plus sales in Taiwan and Hong Kong -- Apple allegedly has no strong interest in TD-SCDMA, and may actually skip the Chinese-only 3G standard in favor of preparing for a 4G TD-LTE iPhone.
Another obstacle to an official China Mobile iPhone is reportedly the App Store. The carrier is said to want a cut of sales, even though Apple has never agreed to share app revenues with iPhone carriers in the past. Mobile apps are extremely popular in China, and Wu argues that China Mobile naturally wants to take advantage.
For Apple, it may be crucial to secure Mobile as a partner. The carrier has over 628 million subscribers, easily dwarfing the 189 million held by Unicom. China is believed to generate 15 percent of Apple revenue, and a China Mobile iPhone could theoretically double local sales.