On Sept. 10, Apple will hold a special event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, at which it is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhones. And a few hours later, it will hold three more events at a trio of international locations.
These satellite launches will be held in Berlin, Tokyo and Beijing, and will feature a video stream or more time-zone-friendly replay of the Cupertino event, along with some other content. They’re not an entirely new occurrence; Apple has done them before in London and Tokyo. That said, this is the first time the company has ever held a satellite launch event in China, one of its most important markets. And its scheduling will almost certainly add heft to rumors that Apple is preparing to announce China Mobile as a new carrier partner in the country.
With more than 700 million customers, China Mobile is not only the largest wireless carrier in China, but in the world. And, as I wrote this morning, it’s one of the few remaining carriers that can significantly move the needle on iPhone sales. With Apple’s revenue in China down 14 percent year over year in the third quarter, that’s something the company is likely eager to do.