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China state-run media dreams up conspiracy theories about missing iPhone 6

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 12, 2014
The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will go on sale Sept. 19 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K; with some other markets kicking off sales Sept. 26 - all except China.

Government-controlled media outlets in China yesterday speculated that the iPhone 6 will not be immediately sold there because Apple retaliated against carrier partners who leaked details of the new models before their Tuesday launch.

That was one reason publications such as People's Daily, the Communist Party's official organ, and the government's Xinhua News Agency put forward for the sudden change in the on-sale date for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Those same reports, as well as others, also said that the iPhone 6 had not yet been approved by the Ministry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the agency that must green light smartphones before they can be sold in the PRC.

Searches on the MIIT's website for an iPhone 6 approval notice came up empty.

Much more provocative were the charges that the move was by initiated by Apple. People's Daily (Chinese language website), for example, claimed one possibility was that Apple was holding out because executives were angry that China's mobile carriers spilled some of the details about the then-unannounced iPhone 6, including pricing by China Unicom and China Mobile's posting of the handset's dimensions and Sept. 19 on-sale date.

Other reports, including one by Xinhua (Chinese language website), pitched in with another conspiratorial theory: The Chinese carriers' reductions in smartphone subsidies had upset Apple enough to cut off its nose to spite its face.

Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 on Tuesday in the U.S. at a lavish one hour 45-min. event in Cupertino, Calif., where CEO Tim Cook introduced not only the two new models — one with a 4.7-in. screen, the other of 5.5-in. — but touted a new electronic payment system and the first new device under Cook's regime, the Apple Watch.

The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will go on sale Sept. 19 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. A second-wave list of markets — confirmed by spot checks of Apple localized online stores — including Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Taiwan, will kick off sales Sept. 26.

Noticeably absent from the lists: China.

Although Apple traditionally introduced new iPhones in the PRC months after their appearance elsewhere, that changed last year when the American company added China to the first-wave list, selling the iPhone 5S and 5C there on the global opening day.

According to People's Daily, Xinhua and other domestic news organizations, the iPhone 6 was originally to launch Sept. 26, a week after the U.S. debut, with the date promoted on Apple China's website. That was later deleted. Currently, the company's site redirects all buying information about the iPhone 6 to a page that instead pushes last year's iPhone 5S and 5C.


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