Japan’s largest carrier DoCoMo & Apple reportedly agree to iPhone partnership, sales start this fall

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Japan’s largest mobile carrier, DoCoMo, will finally begin selling the iPhone this fall, according to Nikkei. Apple and DoCoMo reportedly recently came to an agreement, and reports regarding the discussions emerged late last month.

With Apple announcing two new iPhones next week, it is likely that DoCoMo will carry the new devices. Apple will be announcing a successor to the iPhone 5 (the iPhone 5S) as well as a lower-cost, plastic backed iPhone 5 geared towards emerging markets. 

Earlier today, chatter increased regarding other next-generation iPhone launches in China, including debuts on China Telecom and China Mobile

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Deutsche Telekom statement adds to speculation that iPhone 5S may support LTE-A (aka LTE+)

Samsung is so far the only company to announce an LTE-A compatible phone

Samsung is so far the only company to announce an LTE-A compatible phone

A statement by Deutsche Telekom is adding to speculation that at least the European model of the iPhone 5S may support the high-speed LTE-A standard (also known as LTE+). The prospect of the 5S supporting the faster version of LTE had first been suggested back in July.

In announcing that the carrier will be launching its high-speed LTE-A data service this month, offering speeds of up to 150MBit/s, the company said:

Samsung will offer an updated version of the Galaxy S4 with LTE +. Appropriate devices from other manufacturers will follow the end of September.

Given the timing, some are suggesting that one of the ‘other manufacturers’ may be Apple …  Read more

Canadian carrier Telus will discontinue 32 and 64GB iPhone 5 on September 28th, 16GB to remain on as mid-tier?

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A new leaked doc from Canadian carrier Telus (via MobileSyrup) shows that the carrier has plans to discontinue the iPhone 5 on September 28 just days after the next-generation iPhones are rumored to launch. Although it would lend weight to the theory that Apple could get rid of the iPhone 5 since the rumored iPhone 5S and especially the lower cost iPhone 5C are so close internally to the current device, the doc only shows that the 32GB and 64GB models will be discontinued, which might be a clue the 16GB iPhone 5 will stick around as an entry level model.

Keeping the 16GB iPhone 5 seems to line up with what we’ve been hearing at Verizon and adds even more weight to the theory that Apple will keep the iPhone 5 around as a lower cost option perhaps in between the 5S and the 5C in much the same way that the last-gen iPhone 4S currently occupies the $99/plan spot in Apple’s lineup.

On the other hand, often-accurate KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo said earlier this month that he thinks Apple will stop selling the iPhone 5 at the end of Q3 2013 and continuing selling the iPhone 4S until the end of the year.

Apple yesterday sent out invites to the September 10th event and is expected to start selling the iPhone 5S and 5C starting around the 20th of September.

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Update: Similar chatter is coming out of Vodafone Germany, indicating that the 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5 and 16GB iPhone 4S will soon be discontinued.
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China Mobile said to be ‘keen’ on selling iPhone, issues that remain are ‘commercial and technical’

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China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua

China Mobile, the world’s largest Telecom with close to 700M subscribers, reported mixed earnings today on slow growth of its smartphone business relative to its competitors which both carry the iPhone. Chairman Xi Guohua noted this and said that talks with Apple on carrying the iPhone were progressing.

“Both sides sounded keen (during recent talks),” Xi told a news conference after announcing the company’s first-half results.

“Good progress was made in preparing for the commercialization of TD-LTE,” Xi said, referring to 4G “long-term evolution” network technology that may support newer iPhone models.

Dow Jones’ Paul Mozur noted the remaining issues to be worked out:

Working out the hurdles and signing up the world’s largest telecom would obviously be a big win for Apple and CEO Tim Cook, who would probably love to announce the carrier relationship at the upcoming September 10th iPhone event in San Francisco.   Read more

Digitimes: Initial ‘iPhone 5S’ shipments to be constrained as fingerprint sensors hit low yield-rates

Digitimes, which is notorious for its mixed track record, is out with a new report claiming that initial shipments of Apple’s next-generation iPhone will be in tight supply. The reason being low yield rates for the production of the sensor for the device’s rumored fingerprint scanning technology. That’s in addition to some chips required to power the new iPhone’s LCD.

Poor yields of fingerprint-recognition chips and LCD driver ICs will likely force Apple to reduce first-quarter shipments of the rumored iPhone 5S, which is slated for launch in September 2013, according to industry sources. Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S, the sources explained.

Furthermore, the site says that production of said device’s sensors should have begun late last month or earlier this month, but production won’t actually begin until later this month. This in turn will affect initial shipments of the new iPhone come September. Digitimes says this will result in 3 million delayed units…

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