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Prices drop for iPhone 6 devices smuggled into China -- report

Device prices have sunk by up to $1,000 now that the initial hype surrounding the new iPhones has worn off.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. CNET

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus may still be hard to come by in China, but the price of the smuggled devices is already falling dramatically, according to a new report.

Entrepeneurs in China who managed to get their hands on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units have slashed prices in Beijing due to lower-than-expected demand, The New York Times reported Monday. Apple's latest handsets were selling right after launch for RMB12,000 to RMB15,000 ($1,950 to $2,440) for low-end models, but prices are now down to RMB6,500 to RMB8,800 ($1,060 to $1,430).

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched earlier this month in the US and several other countries. The devices are so far unavailable in China, which has yet to approve the device for sale there.

That hasn't stopped people from buying up units in the US and elsewhere and bringing them to China. Smugglers and sellers had believed they'd profit heavily off the devices because demand in China would be high. But that apparently is no longer the case.

Many consumers may simply be waiting for the official launch -- and the smaller price tag. It's also possible that Apple's competitors, including China-based Xiaomi, may already be filling the needs of China's consumers.

Regardless, the iPhone 6 and 6Plus have been selling briskly worldwide. Apple sold a record 10 million iPhone units in the first 72 hours on store shelves. So far, Apple hasn't said when the Chinese launch will happen, though early October is possible. The company has received partial regulatory approval and is waiting for the final okay. Apple will likely confirm its China launch at least a week in advance to build hype.

China is an important segment of Apple's business, representing about 16 percent of its total sales in the second quarter.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.