By Erik Crouch
Although Apple dominates the smartphone market in the US and much of Europe, it has never been a strong contender in China. A lack of carrier-subsidies (e.g. “Buy a phone with a 2-year contract and get $100 off!”) have made the iPhone too expensive, and its American antenna design doesn’t support China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network. This may change soon, according to tech analyst Gene Munster, who predicts that Apple will release a China-focused iPhone sometime in 2014.
The biggest challenge is the price: Munster believes Apple will roll-out a cheaper phone, likely in the $200 range, and with a TD-SCDMA antenna. Although Apple is not known for releasing “cheap” versions of anything, the Chinese market is increasingly becoming dominated by the Android OS and 1.3 billion customers is too big a chance to miss.