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iPhone 4S: Malaysia launch and pricing predictions

The iPhone 4S will hit stores in the US and a few other countries (Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany and Japan) on October 14. On October 28, 22 other countries will start selling the iPhone 4. In these 22 countries is Singapore and that is, to us, a strong clue as to when the new iPhone will hit Malaysia.

Although this is, at the moment, unconfirmed, it is possible to conceive that the iPhone 4S will come to Malaysia at the same time as Singapore, emulating the iPad 2 rollout back in April when the tablet was launched in both markets simultaneously.

Of course we have to factor in the fact the the iPad 2 faced massive delays during its initial rollout and that might have caused Apple to release the device in Singapore and Malaysia together at once. But on the other hand, the iPhone 4 represents Apple’s “fastest rollout ever” and this could indicate that Malaysia is also a likely candidate for the October 28 release window.

Also, consider the ever-present allure of an always updated range of Android devices from Samsung, Sony Ericsson and HTC, and the in-store release of the very interesting Nokia N9 that’s expected to happen within the first two weeks of this month. With — what we consider — an inferior product in the iPhone 4S, every delay in capturing the market now poses a real threat to Apple in sale opportunities lost.

With the iPhone 4S, Apple is no longer the default choice for smartphone purchase, users are now opening up to Android and other alternatives like Windows Phone and even Meego. This time around, things are not looking so rosy for Apple.

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In terms of pricing we’re not expecting the iPhone 4S to divert very much from how much the iPhone 4 costs at launch and therein lies the biggest issue with the new iPhone. The iPhone 4 retailed for RM2,290 (16GB) and RM2,690 (32GB) at launch, in the face of high-end Androids getting cheaper and cheaper (you can get the Samsung Galaxy S II for RM1,899 and the equally capable HTC Sensation at RM1,799. The upcoming Nokia N9 costs RM1,799 for 16GB and RM2,088 for 64GB, but do note that the N9 is a single-core device), the inferior iPhone 4S is starting to look absurdly overpriced and not make much sense.

In terms of operators, you can expect the iPhone 4S to be available on Maxis (first and exclusive for about one month) and then on DiGi and Celcom shortly after that, but the question is, does it really matter anymore?

So, what do you think of the iPhone 4S?

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