‘‘One of the big questions is whether Apple is going to push the envelope on the iPhone or do they feel they have pretty much gone as far as they can go on the smartphone side of things?’’ said Gartner Inc. analyst Carolina Milanesi.
If there is a gold iPhone, it would be the latest sign of Apple’s intensifying focus on China — a market where hundreds of millions of Internet-connected devices are expected to eventually to be sold as the standard of living improves in the world’s most populous country. The color gold is considered to be a sign of good fortune in China.
A less expensive iPhone would also help Apple boost sales in China and other less-developed countries where people don’t have as much disposable income as in the U.S. and Europe.
In an unusual move, Apple has invited media to another event in Beijing that will be held a few hours after the gathering at its headquarters is scheduled to adjourn. The Beijing event has fed speculation that Apple has lined up a deal to sell its new iPhones through China Mobile, the country’s largest wireless carrier. It is an alliance that Cook has been openly courting. The Wall Street Journal last week cited anonymous people who said Apple is preparing to ship iPhones to China Mobile.
Although Apple still touts as iPhone as the best of its breed, the device has been losing some of its panache among consumers.
In the three months ending in June, Apple sold 31 million iPhones worldwide compared to 187 million Android phones made by the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG Electronics, according to the research firm International Data Corp. That left the iPhone with 13 percent of the global market, down from 17 percent at the same time last year. Android phones held a 79 percent share, up from 69 percent last year, according to IDC.