With Apple taking the wraps off of two variations of the Apple iPhone today, there are a number of firsts that make today historic for Apple. But perhaps the most important first to Apple’s bottom-line is the possibility that Apple has received certification in China for the first iPhone that supports China Mobile’s pipelines. Apple is planning on holding an event in China later today U.S. time, to introduce its new phones.
Recent reports say that Apple and China Mobile have an agreement for Apple to sell the budget priced Apple iPhone 5C through the world’s largest carrier. Another report today says that the high-end Apple iPhone 5S, with support for China Mobile’s TD-LTE network, has already passed through China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. MIIT is similar to the FCC in the U.S. and obtaining certification is a two-month process.
With 1 billion subscribers, China Mobile has long been a target for Apple to sell its handset in the country. But for the phone to support the carrier’s proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G pipeline required Apple to make changes to its phone which it refrained from doing with earlier models.
Last week, China Mobile announced that four models supporting TD-LTE had received MIIT approval. The four were the Samsung GALAXY Note II , Sony Xperia SP, Huawei Ascend D2 and ZTE Grand Memo U-815. But sources inside the MIIT say that there actually was a fifth handset, the Apple iPhone 5S, which had also been approved although Apple had requested silence about the certification.
Now all that is needed is for China Mobile to receive MIIT approval to turn the switch on its 4G network to “on”. But guess what. That requires MIIT approval, which has been pushed back until November. So while Apple might announce the iPhone 5S for China Mobile at its event in the country later tonight, the phone won’t be launched for the carrier until November.