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According to a report on Wednesday, Apple intended to debut the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the important Chinese market on Sept. 9, but those plans have been delayed as the company awaits regulatory approval for the new handsets.
Citing unnamed executives from three major Chinese cellular carriers, The New York Times reports Apple informed telecoms that its much-anticipated next-generation iPhone lineup will not be available for sale in the country on Sept. 19, when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are scheduled for release in the U.S. and other major markets.
When Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller announced the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, China was noticeably absent from the list of launch countries, which include the United States, Canada, France, Germany Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the UK.
Sources claim Apple was shooting for a Sept. 19 debut, but only today informed carriers of the change in plans, failing to provide an explanation for the delay. A sales manager at China Telecom told the publication that Apple said, "There are some details which are not ready," but would not elaborate on the reported issues.
The NYT goes on to cite news reports out of China claiming the country's Ministry for Industry and Information Technology had not yet approved the iPhone 6 for sale, also noting that the product is not listed on the agency's website.
Further, the Chinese version of the Online Apple Store does not provide information on preorder sales for the devices, something prominently advertised in the U.S. and other launch locales as starting on Sept. 12 .
If Apple is indeed pushing back the Chinese iPhone 6 launch due to regulatory problems, the delay could be detrimental in gaining new subscribers in the burgeoning market. Interest is already high, however, as China Mobile reported over 33,000 reservations for the new iPhone as of Sept. 2, well before the device lineup was even announced.