In addition to the upcoming iPhone keynote next Tuesday, Apple in a surprise announcement confirmed it will be holding a standalone press conference the following day, September 11, in Beijing, China. The development prompted speculation that the Beijing event could serve as a launchpad for a landmark deal with China Mobile.
Be that as it may, it’s been reported earlier today that Apple will livestream the Cupertino event via satellite in other big cities around the world, including Japan’s Tokyo and Germany’s Berlin…
John Paczkowski, writing for the Wall Street Journal-owned AllThingsD blog:
On September 10th, Apple will hold a special event at its Cupertino, CA headquarters at which it is expected to unveil its next generation iPhones. And a few hours later, it will hold three more at a trio of international locations.
These satellite launches will be held in Berlin, Tokyo and Beijing, and will feature a video replay of the Cupertino event.
When he says “satellite launches”, Paczkowski is likely referring to private video feeds for select members of the press and possibly business partners. At press time, there was no definite confirmation whether or not Tuesday’s iPhone event might be livestreamed to the general public.
Curiously, the author wrote on Twitter that the September 11 event in Beijing might be more than a video replay of the California iPhone event. The time zone differences would make it difficult to livestream the press conference in China: the California event kicks off at 9am Pacific / 1pm Eastern, which translates to 2am in the morning in Beijing, which is untenable.
Apple’s held events like these before.
For instance, it transformed the Covent Garden Apple Store into a live streaming hall for the UK press to watch the October 2011 iPhone 4S event which went down at the company’s campus auditorium in Cupertino, California.
Mockup via Martin Hajek.
It’s unclear exactly what kind of an event Apple has in store for Beijing: a live stream, a video replay or a dedicated press conference. One thing is certain: Apple never provided a satellite stream of its events in China.
The country is interesting for many reasons: the home to 1.33 billion people and China Mobile – which happens to be the world’s largest wireless carrier with 700+ million subscribers – China is Apple’s second-largest market by revenue and as such represents a vast opportunity.
And just how big is Apple’s China Mobile iPhone opportunity?
How about AT&T and Verizon, combined.
Research firm ISI believes an iPhone deal with China Mobile could boost Apple’s sales by 38.7 million iPhone units in calendar 2014. With 180 million 3G subscribers, China Mobile is “one of the few remaining carriers that can really move the needle” on iPhone sales.
Assuming a three percent penetration rate of the telco’s 180 million 3G subscribers, you’re looking at an additional five million iPhone sales in the December quarter alone. All told, ISI believes China Mobile could contribute to about 40 million additional iPhone sales in calendar 2014.
Indeed, China Mobile and Apple’s mid-range, off-contract iPhone 5C could prove a match made in heaven.
That’s of course based on the assumption Apple’s actually inked a deal with the carrier.
And if it has, Apple would be wise to announce such a major distribution agreement at an event of its own in order to demonstrate its renewed commitment to the Chinese market. If the Verizon iPhone deserved a presser of its own, so do the China Mobile iPhone 5S/5C.