Following approval by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the latest iPhones will become available in China from 17 October.
Apple announced that pre-orders of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can be made in China via www.apple.com as of 10 October. Customers may also reserve the devices for in-store pick-up from 14 October.
Apple’s latest smartphones offer its largest screen sizes yet at 4.7 inches for the iPhone 6 and 5.5 inches for the iPhone 6 Plus, both of which have Retina HD displays. Inside, both models feature Apple’s A8 chip with second-generation 64-bit architecture, plus improved iSight and FaceTime HD cameras.
Having hit stores in the US on 19 September and further markets across Europe last Friday, the phones have already been eagerly snapped up by consumers, breaking sales records with 4m iPhone 6 handsets sold in the first 24 hours.
The delayed release in the lucrative Chinese smartphone market – which is the largest in the world – is a result of the government’s need to ensure the devices were secure and would not leak data to US agencies.
The MIIT required that Apple address any risks of personal data insecurity before approval for sale would be granted. According to Reuters, rigorous security testing was performed on the new devices and discussions were held between the ministry and Apple in which the Californian tech giant had to answer questions on third-party access to the phones and the ability of repair technicians to access user data through background services.
Apple assured the MIIT no security backdoors had been included with the latest iOS 8 operating system and that access was not allowed for any government agency in any country.
With the Chinese government’s approval, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will become available online from Apple as well as from its own stores and its network of authorised retail partners in China.
The phones will be available on 4G networks through all three of China’s major carriers – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, which, together, have more than 1.27bn mobile subscribers.
Suggested retail prices in China will start at 5,288 Chinese yuan renminbi (about €679) up to 6,888 yuan (about €844) for an iPhone 6, or 6,088 yuan (about €781) to 7,788 yuan (about €1,000) for an iPhone 6 Plus.