Will China See the iPhone 5 Before the US Does?

A sobering report Thursday from Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White raises an interesting prospect with regard to Apple’s anticipated September release of the iPhone 5.

Might the world’s most populous mobile community get the updated touchscreen smartphone before the US does?

This week, the Ticonderoga Securities analyst raised eyebrows in a note to investors that presented information gained from reliable sources with knowledge of the recently forged Apple-China Mobile partnership. According to White, Apple’s 5th generation iPhone will debut in China this September, around the same time the updated touchscreen handset turns up in the US.

Although the iPhone is available in China, it’s only “officially available” through China Unicom, a carrier with approximately 30% of China Mobile’s subscriber base.

Clearly, Apple and China Mobile see dollar signs with regard to a possible iPhone coverage agreement that could expand the device’s reach to China Mobile’s 600 million wireless subscribers.

On Wednesday, a Chinese newspaper reported that Apple COO Tim Cook had engaged in high-level talks with the chief executives at China Mobile to seal the deal on what some believe will mean a late summer or early fall release of the iPhone 5 in China.