The Apple (AAPL) iPhone will soon be available in Asia. That will not include the pearl of all handset markets, China. but it does pick up potential sales elsewhere. According to Reuters, SingTel, Singapore’s big phone company, and some of its partners will bring the iPhone to "Singapore, India, Australia and the Philippines later this year."
For Apple, the news could hardly be better. The iPhone sells well in the US and Europe but has not been available in the large markets in Asia like its competition, especially smartphones from Nokia (NOK) and Samsung. "Unlocked" iPhones do sell in that part of the universe, but Apple makes less on them than phones sold through cellular companies.
The ability to get the iPhone into all of the world’s largest wireless markets becomes more important as each quarter passes. Sales of the iPod, which drove Apple back to being a consummate success in the tech world, are now slowing. The Mac may have some sales limitations as it moves from consumers sales to the business market. IT departments do not want to support both PCs and the Apple products.
All of that makes the iPhone the key to Apple’s earnings growth two or three years out. Being in Asia helps.
Douglas A. McIntyre