The iPhone 5 has already gone on sale in China - the only problem is Apple hasn’t actually released the phone yet!
That is no setback in China, where opportunistic sellers are already accepting pre-orders for the phone, as they confidently offer mock-up pictures and purported technical specifications.
As far as Apple is concerned, however, the specifications, details and price of its next-generation phone will only be revealed upon its official release sometime between August and October of this year.
The demand for Apple products is so high in China that the country’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, is busy with sellers demanding deposits of up to 1,000 yuan (131 euros) for pre-orders, while some are fearlessly accepting full payments of 6,999 yuan (900 euros).
Apple’s iPhone 5 is being hotly anticipated by diehard fans worldwide, as rumours about its new features circulate. Some sources say the latest handset will have a bigger screen than previous models, while Taiwanese media have reported that the phone’s voice recognition software, Siri, will be a lot more powerful.
Just in case
But that’s not all. On Alibaba.com - the business-to-consumer platform of Alibaba Group - hard-shell and soft silicone cases for the latest phone are also already available. One seller said he could guarantee the accuracy of the dimensions for these cases, asserting his boss had received them from “certain channels”.
And that could very well be right, ahead of the release of the iPad 2 in 2011 the company launched cases for it that were of the right size and configuration. The cases accurately reflected the introduction of a rear-facing camera.
To meet the demand for Apple products, many sellers buy them from Hong Kong and the US and bring them to mainland China, where the official release is usually much later. Some sellers also resort to smuggling in goods since there is a limit on the number they can bring from overseas.
Apple has only five stores in mainland China right now but has plans to open flagship stores in other major cities.