iPhone 8 orders may open in Korea on Oct. 27

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iPhone 8 orders may open in Korea on Oct. 27

Apple’s latest iPhone 8 smartphone may begin preorders in Korea on Oct. 27 and shipping on Nov. 3 at the earliest, sources said on Monday. The iPhone 8 series will be retailed through all three mobile carriers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+.

The launch dates for the iPhone X, the highly anticipated 10th anniversary phone armed with cutting-edge features, is still unknown, however. Some industry experts speculate it could hit Korea early next year.

Apple had been considering releasing the iPhone 8 and its bigger sibling the iPhone 8 Plus in the middle of October, but had to postpone due to the unusually long Chuseok holiday, according to industry insiders.

The world’s second-largest smartphone producer after Samsung Electronics already began delivering the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and 5.5-inch 8 Plus to the first batch of countries, including the United States, China and Japan, on Sept. 22.

Phones were delivered to the second group of countries a week later. Preorders for the iPhone X, pronounced 10, will begin on Oct. 27 in 57 countries across the globe, with shipping scheduled to kick off on Nov. 3.

With the latest models from both Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics - the Galaxy Note8 and the V30 - released last month, the arrival of the iPhone 8 is expected to ignite a sales battle toward the end of the year.

The fact that the government-imposed limit on subsidies that phone producers and mobile carriers were jointly offering - up to a maximum of 330,000 won ($288) - was lifted as of Oct. 1 and the ceiling on discounts on monthly subscription bills was raised from 20 percent to 25 percent on Sept. 15 is likely to further encourage consumers to go shopping for a new device.

“We anticipate higher-than-expected sales volumes for the iPhone 8 as the model has attracted considerable attention from Korean consumers and discounts on phone bills have also been hiked,” said a spokesman from a mobile operator.

In recent weeks, however, about six reports have surfaced in Taiwan, China and Japan with iPhone 8 users complaining that the phone split apart after the battery inside the device warped.

Following the Samsung Galaxy Note7 fiasco last year, consumers have grown increasingly sensitive to battery failures. To date, Apple has only released a short statement, “We are aware and looking into it.”

Preorders in the U.S. for the iPhone 8 were lower than for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6, Jun Zhang, an analyst with Rosenblatt Securities, said in a note to clients on Sept. 20. Demand in China is even lower, the analyst noted, where the market is notoriously bearish about Apple.

“We understand many customers could be waiting for the iPhone X, but we are concerned iPhone 8/8 Plus sell-through could bring some headwinds,” he said.

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