Update: Initial reports claim that China’s top three wireless carriers have already accepted 1 million iPhone 6 orders in the first six hours of availability alone.
Apple’s initial failure to secure regulatory approval for its next-gen handsets means it’s been a harder than expected slog for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to make it into China through official channels.
Today, however, marks the occasion on which the iPhone 6 family of devices officially became available for pre-order in China, ahead of the handsets landing in stores Friday, October 17.
“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” Tim Cook said in an official Apple statement. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”
While today may be the first official day of pre-orders, though, it’s worth noting that all three of the biggest Chinese phone carriers — China Mobile, China Telecom and China — have all been taking unofficial preorders since practically the moment the phones were first cleared for sale.
According to a regularly updated spreadsheet kept by Forbes analyst Chuck Jones, using data provided by the Chinese live tracking website JD.com, current estimated Chinese preorders of the iPhone 6 amount to 8.5 million — only a fraction less than the 10 million+ units which sold worldwide in all available markets over the iPhone 6’s opening weekend.
What was it that Tim Cook said about China being a key market for Apple, again?