With the Samsung Galaxy S III already available, the focus is now on Apple and the iPhone 5. As we previously reported, the eagerly anticipated iDevice will feature some great improvements, such as a bigger, 4-inch screen, a quad-core A6 chip and 4G LTE connectivity.
As you may recall, each iDevice launch triggers long queues the day it hits the stores, so it can’t be early enough to make sure you will receive it the day it is available in your country. The high demand for the iPhone 4S in China prompted some Chinese resellers to make use of e-commerce site Taobao to make the iPhone 5 available for pre-order to Chinese customers now. Although the iPhone 5 hasn’t even yet got a final approval from Apple, and it will only be available sometime in October, early buyers can purchase one today. However, this requires some money to invest, as sellers usually ask for a minimum deposit of $160 (or 1,000 yuan, but in other cases you need to pay the full price of the iPhone 5 which is $1,100 (6,999 yuan).
Reuters made enquiries with several sellers, only to find out that they don’t give an exact delivery date, and also that they plan to buy the device from Hong Kong or the US and then ship it to China, just to satisfy their client’s needs. However, Hong Kong may sound like a good place to buy—strategically—because in some cases, Apple devices were available there before they were released in mainland China.
Also, there are already multiple iPhone 5 cases available for purchase in China, with most of the resellers located in China. Their price varies from $0.3 up to $5 per piece, depending on the type.
With the iPhone 5 featuring 4G LTE capability, Apple is expected to close a deal with China Mobile, the world’s No. 1 wireless carrier. China Mobile has 635 million subscribers and claims that 15 million iPhones are already using its 2G network. With the iPhone 5 available on China’s largest wireless operator, Apple is also expected to increase its market share in China—which now stands at 17.3%. Apple and China Mobile started to discuss a possible partnership back in 2010, but they couldn’t reach a deal, due to the iPhone’s incompatibility with China Mobile’s network, which is now expected to change this year. The operator will launch its LTE network this fall, and the iPhone 5 will fully support it—that is, if the rumor mill was right about the device’s 4G capability. [Via Reuters]