updated 04:10 pm EST, Thu November 13, 2008
China iPhone job posting
Apple may be closer to bringing the iPhone to China, a new job offer posting suggests. The company is looking for an iPhone Quality Assurance Engineer, to be located in Beijing. China represents an enormous market for mobile phones, but negotiations for the iPhone may have lasted longer than expected. Shortly before the iPhone 3G launch, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told CNBC that Chinese and Russian announcements would "happen later this year." The Russian launch occurred early in October, but the company has been quiet about any progress in China.
Several launches in Asian countries have reportedly hinged on hardware and political issues. At present, the Korean iPhone release is dependent on a loosening of government regulations; mandatory use of the WIPI software standard is said to be keeping foreign competitors out of the South Korean market.
The situation in China could be related to similar obstacles. An iPhone heading to the region is rumored to be a scaled-down version, possibly lacking Wi-Fi or 3G, according to a South China Morning Post report. The government has allegedly asked China Mobile to uphold the TD-SCDMA standard, instead of using common global alternatives such as HSPA.
Manufacturers are generally reluctant to make significant hardware changes to suit the requirements of particular countries. The enormous size of China's mobile customer base could outweigh the inconvenience, although neither Apple nor China Mobile have confirmed reports or provided any details.
[via Silicon Alley Insider]