By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Well, sort of. An e-commerce company called Taobao is taking iPhone 5 presale orders and they’re doing it with mockup imagery and even offering odds on what the next generation Apple smartphone will have.
“Demand is high, yesterday someone just bought two phones. Altogether we have about two dozen orders,” said one seller on Taobao who went by the nickname Xiaoyu.
Taobao looks like a mix of eBay and yahoo stores. The sellers are independent online merchants, so it’s really nothing more than enterprising sellers casting a net and trying to make a quick buck with presale orders and required deposits. Some are asking for about 100% down, while others are for about 10% down of the 6,999 yuan ($1,100) price tag! Yikes! And we thought the iPhone was pricey here in the US!
And as we know, what’s interesting is that Apple hasn’t even announced or even commented on what the new iPhone will officially have, although it is known that it will run iOS 6.0 and have enhanced SIRI features. But outside of that, the actual specifications are merely rumors and speculation. It is believed that Apple will follow the standard redesign schedule which points to design, then enhancements with an “S” version, and then redesign again. The iPhone 5 may have a longer screen, providing a wider aspect ratio to placate fans who want a larger screen, but it’s doubtful that the phone will approach the “phablet” designation of the Samsung Galaxy Note or Motrola Droid MAXX.
And rumors seems to be all that Chinese iPhone fans need in order to plunk down their hard earned yuan to secure that phone before anyone else and will settle for odds on what will be in the new iPhone to confirm that they simply must have one (gee, and I thought standing in line outside of the Apple Store for several weeks was insane).
Sellers are planning on coming through with their sales by purchasing the iPhone when it’s rolled out in HongKong as part of Apple’s worldwide distribution schedule, or even going to the extreme of flying to the United States and buying a bunch outright and shipping them home. But they’re likely to run into problem with limited demand and rationed supply which will only allow for 2 or 3 per sales transaction. And then China has an import limit, as Xiaoyu confirmed:
“It’s not so easy to bring the phones from overseas, there’s a limit to how many you can carry in … If we could bring in a few thousand that will be great!”
But Apple also has opened five stores in mainland China and PRC officials say that plans are in the works to open a pair of stores in Chengdu and Shenzhen. If that’s the case, then it won’t take trip to the States to get the new iPhone, regardless of what it has, just a little patience. Meanwhile, thanks to Apple’s trademark settlement over the name iPad, Chinese officials say that Apple is now free to sell their tablet in China effective July 20th. So Apple fans can scratch that itch, while their waiting for the new iPhone to come out, which should be sometimes in September or October, if the new annual release schedule stays the course.