MANILA, Philippines — The popular Apple iPhone 5 will likely hit local shores, officially, next month, according to the head of one of the country’s top phone firms.
If true, this means the new iPhone, the sales of which make up the bulk of the California-based gadget-makers annual revenues, would come to the Philippines at about the same time the previous model was launched in the country last year.
“My personal estimate is that it will be launched in December,” Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu said.
The iPhone 4S device was launched in December 2011 in the Philippines—three months after it was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the company’s California headquarters.
The Philippines was included in the fifth batch of countries to receive the iPhone 4S, together with Brazil, Russia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Globe previously enjoyed exclusivity for the iPhone, but this ended in 2011 with the iPhone 4S as Apple relaxed restrictions on carriers.
Cu admitted that local carriers tried to convince Apple to include the Philippines in its early batches of countries to get the device. Singapore was the only Southeast Asian country included in the first batch of countries. The others were Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
He said Apple representatives in the region have not revealed their plans for the device for the Philippine market. “They haven’t told us anything yet,” he said.
The iPhone 5, said to be the last Apple device to have inputs from the company’s late CEO Steve Jobs, was released last September.
The new device is thinner and lighter but taller than all previous iPhones shipped by Apple. It also features long-term evolution or LTE connectivity, a feature that’s been present on other devices, particularly phones running on Google’s Android operating system, since 2011.
A study by market research firm Ipsos released this week show that tablet computers, laptops, and mobile phones are now on the top of holiday shopping lists of most affluent Filipinos.
For other household technology goods, 21 percent are planning on buying new television sets, while 15 percent want new digital cameras.
The study, conducted in the second and third quarters of the year on 1,660 Metro Manila consumers age 25-64, showed that the number of those planning to buy new smart phones doubled from last year. The study’s sample aimed to cover people in the top 9 percent by income of the population. These top 9 percent accounted for 20 percent of domestic consumption, the study said.