NBTC spills beans on iPhone 6

Public announcement of 2 phone models could delay Thailand launch

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission all but confirmed the existence of Apple Corp’s as-yet-unannounced iPhone 6 when it publicly announced approval of distribution applications for two new models of the trend-setting smartphone.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith announced this week that the agency has approved Apple's application to distribute two models - identified only by number - and then, on Aug 12, tweeted the news.

The ASTV Manager website said Wednesday Apple filed an import application Aug 5 and received equipment certification and written approval three days later for models A1586 and A1524. The Twitterverse and Apple rumour blogs immediately seized on the news, declaring  - without actual proof - that the numbers were for two iPhone 6 models that Apple has never even hinted existed.

The company is expected to announce at least one new flagship phone Sept 9. Rumour sites continue to assert that Apple will introduce a 4.7-inch version for near-immediate release and, at either the same time or later, a 5.5-inch version.

The Thai model numbers don't necessarily back that up, however. The A1586 model very likely is the iPhone 6, nearly all Apple watchers agree, as Apple phones over the years have used consecutively higher model numbers. The A1586 has a number much higher than any current iPhone 5s model.

The A1524 is a different story, however: The current 16GB iPhone 5c's model number is A1523. The company recently introduced a cheaper 8GB iPhone 5c in international markets. The A1523 very likely could be that budget phone.

With every new iPhone, speculation runs rampant as to specifications, model numbers and launch markets. But very rarely have any official suppliers, retailers or government agencies divulged pre-launch information, partly because Apple - well known for zealously guarding its secrets - has been known to retaliate against leakers.

Accordingly, the Internet reacted with shock to the NBTC's revelation.

"If accurate, it's both interesting and remarkably indiscreet," wrote the Apple rumour site iMore.com. "Either way, (Mr Takorn) likely is not going to get a New Year's card postmarked from (Apple headquarters in) Cupertino any time in the next ever."

According to government regulations, NBTC approvals must be announced publicly, even if the agency kept details of the iPhone specifications secret. Finding himself in the spotlight, Mr Takorn explained his revelation in a follow-up post Thursday.

"To make the people of Thailand aware of the recent certification of the iPhone 6 is to protect consumers," Mr Takorn said in a follow-up post Thursday. "It is to give consumers the confidence to buy phone accessories."

But Apple blog MacRumors.com noted that a distribution application filed a month before the iPhone's official launch was unusual, suggesting that, for once, Thailand might actually be on the list of countries getting the next iPhone on Day One.

Thailand didn't get the iPhone 5s and 5c until Oct 25, 2013 and didn't receive the iPhone 4s until November of 2011, well after the smartphone's launch in the US and Europe.

If Thailand was on the launch list, it may no longer be, if history is any lesson. Apple has, in the past, postponed release dates in Eastern Europe after leaks or simply allocated countries such limited quantities it was effectively unavailable.

Related search: apple, iphone, thailand, nbtc, launch, iphone6

About the author

Writer: Bob James