Korean iPhone sales set for Oct. 23

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Korean iPhone sales set for Oct. 23

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A customer compares the colors of a new Apple iPhone 6s at an Apple store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Korean fans now have a sales date to get their hands on the latest Apple products. [AP/NEWSIS]

Apple will launch sales of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in Korea on Oct. 23, six weeks after the American giant unveiled its latest lineup of products.

All three mobile carriers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ - will accept preorders from Oct. 16, a week before offline sales begin.

A 4.7-inch iPhone 6s with the smallest storage space at 16 gigabytes will be sold for 920,000 won ($794), compared to $649 in the United States. The bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus embedded with a 128 gigabytes of storage, the largest available, will cost 1.34 million won, versus $949 in the United States.

Apple’s new phones are $100 more expensive than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models launched last year.

The hefty pricing by Apple goes against the current trend in Korea where smartphone producers are dragging down prices as the smartphone market reaches near-saturation point.

Samsung Electronics’ latest flagship Galaxy Note 5 phablet is priced at 890,000 won and LG Electronics’ most recent super-premium model V10 costs 790,000 won. Many other mid-priced smartphones that have trimmed functions have become widely available.

“Korea’s smartphone market is quickly shifting its competition focus to pricing,” said a spokesman with one of three mobile services. “It will be very interesting to see if Apple will be able to continue driving its fans to purchase iPhones here even at such high costs.”

Following Apple’s Thursday announcement, Korea has for the first time been included in the second batch of countries to see the latest iPhones arrive in their market.

The home ground of Apple’s archrival Samsung has been among the third-batch of countries to get the release ever since the KT exclusively brought the iPhone 3 and iPhone 3GS in 2009. That means it always took nearly two months before Korea’s Apple fans go their hands on saw the latest iPhones.

Apple said on Sept. 28 the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will ship to 40 countries and territories starting on Oct. 9, followed by additional rollouts on Oct. 10 and Oct. 16. The three dates are considered a single, second-batch. The Oct. 9 nations were mostly Europe and several Middle Eastern countries were scheduled for Oct. 10. India, Malaysia and Turkey were scheduled for Oct. 16 and Korea was apparently added after the Sept. 28 announcement.

Asian countries that were part of the initial batch scheduled for Sept. 25 included Japan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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