Fearing growing competition from its smaller rivals, iPhone holdout China Mobile is reaching out to Apple this month in hopes that the mobile device maker will concede to building support for Beijing's proprietary 3G standard into its next-generation handset.
(Mobile World Congress) Apple is not officially present at this week's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, yet carriers are talking about the iPhone and rivals are introducing what they hope to pitch as "iPhone killers."
When Apple's iPhone enters the Chinese cell phone market later this year in a non-exclusive deal with China Unicom, it could only be the beginning, as the handset maker reportedly already has its sights set on another carrier.
Reports of regulatory approval of a new model of the iPhone in China seem to confirm that Apple's hardware will appear on the China Unicom network, and also suggest that a new model was created for the country of over 1 billion.
Apple may have finally cleared a hurdle in bringing the iPhone to China as it has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country, putting a release just a few months away — albeit without Wi-Fi.
In the tug-of-war that has kept the iPhone out of China in the two years since it's been on the market, China Unicom is purportedly closest to reach a deal but still faces an attack from dominant carrier China Mobile.
Apple executives said this week they believe the iPhone remains in its infancy and went on to — somewhat uncharacteristically — reveal a series of strategic measures they may employ in the near term to help grow the handset's share of the booming smartphone market.