Apple mysteriously delays release of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China

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Tim Cook sharing a moment with the crowd at the launch of Apple's partnership with China Mobile.
Tim Cook sharing a moment with the crowd at the launch of Apple's partnership with China Mobile.

Apple is growing like wildfire in China, and Tim Cook expects the country to eventually overtake the US as his company’s largest market.

That’s why it’s a big deal that Apple has delayed the launch of its new iPhones in China. No explanation has been provided to carriers, although it’s suspected that there are still hurdles to overcome in gaining regulatory approval from the government.

“On Wednesday, Apple told China’s three big state-owned mobile service providers that it would not release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in mainland China on Sept. 19, when sales start elsewhere,” reports The New York Times. “Apple did not explain the delay, executives at the carriers said, but it appeared the phones had not received approval from Chinese regulators to go on sale.”

China has been chomping at the bit for new iPhones more than any other area of the world. Carriers were showing promotional ads with fake renders of the upcoming device before it was announced, and China Mobile started actually taking preorders before yesterday’s unveiling.

Phablets are huge in China as well, and Apple was likely thinking about the growing trend when it made the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Not being able to get their hands on the device when it launches in other countries won’t sit well with the Chinese.

The Chinese media recently accused Apple of using Find My iPhone and iCloud to spy on its citizens, and Apple has been playing a delicate balancing act with the government for awhile. The company recently moved iCloud in the country over to state-run servers.

Interestingly, Apple doesn’t mention when China will get the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in yesterday’s press release either. The phones will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on September 19th. Preorders begin in those countries this Friday, September 12th.