Customers try out iPhones at an Apple store in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province in 2019. (File photo: VCG)
Although US-based tech giant Apple has not given any details of its upcoming products launch, rumors are circulating about new, lower-priced iPhones with 5G capability, which could give a boost to Apple's performance in the Chinese market, industry analysts said on Wednesday.
Witnessing the Trump administration's relentless clampdown on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies, Apple has the "sword of Damocles" hanging over its head regarding sales in the Chinese market, they said.
Apple announced on its official website that its launch of new products is scheduled for September 15 (US time).
It will be an online event, where it is expected to reveal new products including an Apple Watch and iPad models. New iPhones, which Apple typically unveils during an event at its headquarters in California in September, might come later this year, CNBC reported.
Apple is expected to announce four new iPhones this year - two regular iPhone 12 models and two iPhone 12 Pro models with new designs that include sharper corners. Those releases may come a few weeks after the event, according to the CNBC report.
Some Chinese netizens said on Wednesday on the domestic Twitter-like Weibo that they have been expecting new iPhones for a long time, and they will buy the devices because of their 5G capability and what are rumored to be more affordable prices.
Other Chinese consumers said they would wait for Huawei's flagship smartphone models Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro, which will reportedly be launched in October, and they compare the two brands.
Huawei overtook Samsung in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2020, marking the first time in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led the market, according to an August report from global technology market analyst firm Canalys.
Sun Yanbiao, head of Shenzhen-based research firm N1mobile, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Apple had hoped its 5G iPhone would be a driving force to boost its sales and market share in China.
"But it is still unknown whether the new iPhones would be put on the market as expected after the launch, since Apple's inventory has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Sun.
Apple is concerned that its performance in the Chinese market may be affected since Huawei, its biggest rival in the high-end mobile phone segment, has been relentlessly cracked down on by the US government.
"It's like a sword of Damocles hanging over the company's head," said Sun.
In the second quarter of 2020, Huawei captured a massive 46 percent share of China's smartphone market, while Apple held 8 percent, data from Counterpoint showed in August.
Ma Jihua, a veteran telecom industry analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Apple's sales and market share are unlikely to increase much because of its new iPhones.
"Given the souring relationship between China and the US, it's inevitable that US brands will be hurt since Chinese consumers will favor other brands," said Ma.