Apple won’t be able to release the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus in China on the devices’ initial launch day.
Unveiled just yesterday, Apple’s new flagship smartphones are scheduled to be launched on Friday, Sept. 19, in the U.S. and several other countries. But China, Apple’s biggest market, is not one of them.
This comes as a bit of a surprise since Apple’s previous flagship handsets, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, were released in China last year on the same day as the U.S. and other major markets.
But the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus are not set to have a similar treatment this time around, reportedly on account of regulatory delays and much to the chagrin of Apple’s customers and partner carriers in China. According to a new report by The New York Times:
The move set off consternation among Apple’s partners in China, as well as with consumers who had been eagerly awaiting the introductions. 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.
Apple is said to be still awaiting approval for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s communications regulation agency. It’s unclear whether the apparent delay is somehow ascribable to local reports from last July that called Apple’s location-tracking function in iOS a “national security concern” — allegations that were immediately denied by Apple.
Apple’s Chinese carrier partners, including China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, are none too pleased of the delay, especially since they’ve already launched advertising campaigns for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. At least China Mobile and China Telecom have even begun accepting preorders for the devices.
At the moment, Apple’s Chinese website advises customers to check back later for updates on the devices’ availability.