Apple iPhone 5 Now Available for Pre-Order in China (AAPL)

Posted by · July 12, 2012 11:12 am

iPhone 2g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4With scant details available about the phone itself, it has come as a bit of a surprise that eager sellers in China are already accepting pre-orders for Apple’s next-generation iPhone. According to Reuters, such sellers have been taking advantage of Taobao to sell the iPhone 5. Taobao is said to be the country’s largest e-commerce system.

From the Reuters report:

Sellers on Taobao, a unit of Alibaba Group, are accepting orders of the iPhone 5, in some cases asking for a deposit of 1,000 yuan [approx. $160] for the new phone. One seller, “Dahai99888”, who started accepting pre-orders this week, is asking for full payment upfront, at a cool 6,999 yuan [approx. $1,100].

Taobao sellers that Reuters spoke with said they planned to buy the iPhone 5 in Hong Kong or the United States and then bring it to mainland China. Apple products are often available in Hong Kong before they are released on the mainland.

One thing the sellers could not pin down—and quite predictably, I might add—was an expected delivery time for the yet-to-be-released iPhone.

As is characteristic of the company in the lead-up to the release of any new device, Apple has remained generally quiet on the matter, electing instead to allow its cult-like blogging community to stir up the hype. One particular rumor that has experienced considerable traction, though, involves the allegedly larger screen size of the forthcoming iPhone.

If the “elongated” iPhone 5 cases being sold on Alibaba.com are indeed accurate as one seller “guaranteed” they were when speaking with Reuters, this rumor may be one worth entertaining.  It wouldn’t be the first time the site got the inside scoop before the rest of us.

Said to be a response to the “intensified competition” between Apple and Samsung, an upgrade to a 4.0-plus-inch screen from its current 3.5-inch model would be consistent with a proven move by consumers toward larger smartphone screens. However, with nary a source to confirm the rumor’s validity—save those reliable “people familiar with the matter”—it’s been uncertain as to whether that’s what we’ll see this fall.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the iPhone 5 stayed the same size and instead boasted the more impressive features envisioned by 17-year-old production prodigy Dakota Adney. And if you’ve seen Adney’s commercial, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind either. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is again:

For more on Apple’s next-generation iPhone…