Apple iPhone 4S to launch before January 23rd in mainland China

Apple iPhone 4S to launch before January 23rd in mainland China
Earlier this month, we told you that regulators in China had finally issued the last remaining paperwork needed for the Apple iPhone 4S to be launched in the country. Now, we have word from China's People's Daily that the absolutely last step before a launch occurred when the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. The word now is that Apple will introduce the phone at the beginning of next month and will launch it before the Chinese New Year on January 23rd. The Apple iPhone 4S is expected to cost 4,999 Yuan ($786 USD) off-contract for the 16GB variant.

Filings with the Chinese regulators show that approval was granted for Apple to sell a WCDMA phone with the model number A1431. While the paper doesn't mention the Apple iPhone 4S by name, the model number is the same as the one used by the Cupertino based firm for a network entry permit for the Apple iPhone 4S. Since China hopped over the U.S. to become the world's largest smartphone market, there is a lot at stake here for Apple.

In the region, the Apple iPhone 4S has been a hot commodity, selling out in Hong Kong within minutes of being put on sale. Some regional branches of China Unicom have been taking pre-orders for weeks in advance of the regulatory approval. China Unicom is the only carrier in the country that is officially allowed to sell the iPhone although Apple has been working with the world's largest carrier, China Mobile, on offering a variant of the phone that would work on the carrier's unique TD-SCDMA network. With 600 million customers (although only 80 million currently are 3G customers), getting approval for the iPhone for China Telecom could have a positive impact on Apple's earnings.

As far as the Apple iPhone 4S is concerned, there is talk that a Mandarin speaking version of Siri will be available in March of next year. Mandarin is the most popular form of the Chinese language.

source: People's Daily via AppleInsider

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