Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sent out invitations to the media Tuesday for an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., on Sept. 10, where it is widely expected to announce new iterations of the iPhone. However, Chinese media outlets, including Sina Tech, have reported that Chinese media received invitations for a separate event in China the next day, fueling speculation that Apple will announce a long-awaited deal with China Mobile, the world's largest operator by subscribers.
Apple has reportedly never had a standalone product unveiling in China, which would make the event even more unusual. The event will be held at Beijing's World Trade Center, at 10 a.m. local time on Sept. 11, according to the Chinese invitation, which looks the same as the one sent to U.S. media.
An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The invitation sports Apple's logo with multiple colored circles, and the phrase, "This should brighten everyone's day." That has increased speculation that Apple will unveil two iPhones on Sept. 10: a high-end iPhone 5S and a mid-range iPhone 5C with multiple colored plastic casings.
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua in Beijing in July, his second visit this year. "The discussions with Apple are still ongoing," Xi said in August. "Most of the discussion revolves around commercial details and technology issues." Xi also said "good progress was made in preparing for the commercialization of TD-LTE," which China Mobile plans to launch for its next-generation services.
China Mobile has around 740 million total subscribers. Apple has inked deals with No. 2 player China Unicom and No. 3 China Telecom, but not yet with China Mobile.
According to AllThingsD, ISI analyst Brian Marshall wrote: "In our view, this potential subscriber base could eventually be almost as large (in unit terms) as the opportunity from AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in the U.S. combined."
- see this TheNextWeb article
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