Apple will unveil a cheaper new iPhone in China to expand its dwindling global market share. The iPhone 5C, produced under controversial working conditions at a plant near Shanghai, will be unveiled alongside the iPhone 5S on the perhaps not entirely auspicious date of Sept. 11.
A separate launch takes place in California on Sept. 10, which is in fact the same day due to the time difference.
Apple sent out invitations for the media-only showcase at the China World Trade Center in Beijing. Why it has chosen a location with such a loaded name on such a loaded date or whether it is a just coincidence has not been revealed.
Sept. 11, 2001 was the day Islamist terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center in New York, triggering a decade of global warfare.
This is the first time Apple has held a separate launch of a new product outside of the U.S. The company has been working very hard to win the hearts of the massive number of potential Chinese customers. Apple CEO Tim Cook has visited China twice already this year to meet Chinese telecom giants.
Whether alluding to the 2001 attacks is the best way to do it remains to be seen.
According to market researcher International Data Corporation, Samsung holds 19 percent market share in the Chinese smartphone market, while Apple has just nine percent, even less than Chinese brands like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi.
The biggest obstacle Apple faces is that it has no agreement with China's largest telecom China Mobile, which has 700 million subscribers across the country. Negotiations have gotten nowhere for several years.
The new iPhone will reportedly be available in gold, to respond to the gaudy tastes of Chinese consumers.