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Apple expected to offer Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone in China soon

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
While the first version of the iPhone released in China came without Wi-Fi due to a temporary ban on the wireless standard, Apple is expected to remedy the situation with a new handset model in the near future.

According to an IDG News Service report from Wednesday, China Unicom is currently in talks with Apple to sell a Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone. Considering many users do not want to rely on expensive data plans for their handset, the addition of Wi-Fi is considered to be an extremely important move for Apple in the Chinese market.

"I know that in the market there is hope we will offer an iPhone with Wi-Fi," Chang Xiaobing, chairman and CEO of China Unicom, reportedly said outside an event in Beijing. "We have been holding talks with Apple in this area."

Last August, Apple and China Unicom struck a 3-year deal to sell the iPhone. The initial handset arrived without Wi-Fi because the Chinese government temporarily banned it in favor of a rival native offering. The ban, however, was relaxed in May 2009, after manufacturing of the new phone began.

The lack of Wi-Fi, along with a relatively high price and booming black market, were cited as reasons for a slow start in sales through China Unicom. While Apple sold just 5,000 iPhones at launch, sales have since picked up, with more than 200,000 handsets purchased as of early January.

Apple has big plans in China, hoping to make an impact in the nation of well over 1 billion people. Apple executives have said they are less concerned about unit sales and more about establishing the Apple brand as they attempt to break in to the market.

Apple has also been in talks with Chinese carrier China Mobile, the largest wireless provider in the world, to offer the iPhone. Last week, the company also revealed its plans to open 25 retail stores in China.
post #2 of 12
I still can't find out how they disabled WiFi on those iPhones. In other words, removed the WiFi driver and OS elements, removed the antenna or replaced the WiFi+BT+EDR chip with a WiFi-less chip?

The last one seems unlikely unless the the law required it and if the first one could mean a firmware update could enable WiFi.

I'm also perplexed by the decision to release the crippled device when the ban was known to be coming off soon. I don't think we have all the info. For relatively low sales over a short time, this makes the logic-board redesign less likely.
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post #3 of 12
Is this considered fragmentation of the features of the phone?
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
post #4 of 12
That was one of the things I was curious about when the deal was originally announced. Was wi-fi completely omitted from the device or was it somehow crippled? I was wondering how Apple's preference of making just one model iPhone with varying capacities applied to the Chinese market.
post #5 of 12
All I have to say is... I told you so
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

All I have to say is... I told you so

You told what to whom?
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
The initial handset arrived without Wi-Fi because the Chinese government temporarily banned it in favor of a rival native offering. The ban, however, was relaxed in May 2009, after manufacturing of the new phone began.


Yea, so conveniently destroyed legitimate demand for iPhones in the process.

So now those who bought the wifi less versions are feeling cheated.

On the other hand, the black market is selling jail broken iPhones like crazy, complete with tons of free pirated apps.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

So now those who bought the wifi less versions are feeling cheated.

Then they shouldn't have bought them. You make it sound like it was a big secret.
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post #9 of 12
Well, at least this should help boost the sales a bit.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Is this considered fragmentation of the features of the phone?

Nah.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
You told what to whom?


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Then they shouldn't have bought them. You make it sound like it was a big secret.


Well your in a real cheerful mood again it seems.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

So now those who bought the wifi less versions are feeling cheated.

Interesting. Last fall I was in Beijing and ran into a number of folks at The University who had iPhones. They were very interested in mine since theirs didn't have Wi-Fi. I queried them about it and no one was upset. "When it comes, we will get it then if we want to." Certainly they didn't feel cheated. Many others were waiting as they were well aware at the launch that it was coming.
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