updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
Apple dates third wave of iPhone 4S launches
Apple on Tuesday committed to launch dates for the third wave of iPhone 4S releases. Two of the company's most important Asian regions, Hong Kong and South Korea, will get the smartphone November 11 alongside Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, and Romania. Most of the new countries will have the option of pre-ordering on November 4.
Five countries, Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, and Panama, will have to wait to launch day to buy. Local prices and the availability of the 8GB iPhone 4 and 3GS were left up to the individual carriers.
The launches partly help fill out coverage in existing regions like Europe and the south Pacific but will be most vital to Apple's rapid growth in Asia. Although Android has a strong base through its support for very low-end smartphones, iPhone sales have been surging faster in the area than in other parts of the world. Cheaper iPhone 3GS and 4 models may be instrumental to this and have been priced in part to catch those more likely to go for prepaid access in China.
Korea tends to behave more like the North American market, where higher-end smartphones and contracts are more common. The Galaxy S II has been helped in Korea partly because of Samsung calling it home but also because of Apple's longer than usual iPhone hardware update cycle.