There may have been more to the meeting we covered yesterday than initially expected. On Wednesday, MMi briefly touched on the speculation set off by a Chinese newspaper report indicating that Apple COO Tim Cook had engaged in high-level talks with the chief executives at China Mobile - a carrier that boasts the largest subscriber base in the world (roughly 611 million subscribers).
Although the iPhone is available in China, it's only "officially available" through China Unicom, a carrier with approximately 30% of China Mobile's subscriber base. So, suffice it to say that Apple and China Mobile see big dollar signs in relation to an iPhone carrier and distribution agreement. Perhaps that was what yesterday's meeting was all about.
On Thursday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White issued a note to investors based on information gained from reliable sources in the know on the supposed Apple-China Mobile partnership. According to White, the deal is so close to being reached (if it hasn't been reached already) that it's now a safe assumption that Apple's 5th generation iPhone will debut in China this September, around the same time the updated touchscreen handset turns up in the US.
He thinks an iPhone 5 this September might need to support China’s home-brewed “TD-SCDMA” standard, as the emerging protocol for 4G wireless, “4G TD-LTE” is not yet ready for prime time.