n its annual September press conference yesterday night, Apple unveiled not one, not two, but three new iPhones, devices that it hopes will help the company to recapture some of the market share that it has lost in China over the years.
However, in its presentation, Apple ended up hurting Chinese feelings by neglecting to pay heed to Beijing’s increased emphasis on international companies strictly abiding by the “one China principle.”
At one point in the presentation, Apple puts up a graphic showing all the locations where the new phones will become available on September 21st, placing both Taiwan and Hong Kong on par with China.
“Apple, what do you mean by this conference?” the Communist Youth League asked on Weibo, pointing out how Apple had specified “US Virgin Islands” in the next column — an obviously flawed comparison considering that this is the way the US territory is often referred to (there also being a British Virgin Islands) and that no “US” is placed in front of Puerto Rico.
Logical or not, it remains to be seen if Apple will apologize for the listing, as so many other global companies have done this year when facing pressure from Beijing over having implied, in one or another, that Taiwan is a separate country.
Apple was once the most successful smartphone brand in China, however, in recent years, it has been crushed by a slew of domestic Android competitors who sell their devices at much lower prices. Though Apple has bounced back a bit recently, it remains in fifth in China’s smartphone market, topped by Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.
Hoping to possibly move back up that ranking, Apple’s latest phones cater to Chinese consumers with fancy features, bigger screens, and dual-SIM support. As usual, the phones will be a bit more expensive in China than in the US with the iPhone XR starting at 6,499 yuan ($950), the iPhone XS at 8,699 yuan ($1270), and the iPhone XS Max at 9,599 yuan ($1400).