updated 09:45 am EDT, Tue May 4, 2010
Brings country closer to Wi-Fi-equipped iPhone
Apple is indeed adjusting the iPhone to support China's local WAPI networking standard, says IDG News. The State Radio Monitoring Center is noted to have last month approved frequency ranges for a new Apple phone, covering both 3G and Wi-Fi technology. WAPI is mentioned in relation to Wi-Fi, which suggests progress in talks with China Unicom about upgrading the current Chinese iPhone. A WAPI-capable model could still support global Wi-Fi standards.
While the iPhone is already on sale in the country, Apple has had to manufacture a special version for the region with Wi-Fi disabled. WAPI is mandatory for any Chinese cellphone with Wi-Fi, but is not incorporated into the iPhones sold in most nations. Stripping out Wi-Fi accelerated the device's legal acceptance.
The decision may be impacting Chinese sales, which are believed to be over a million. The device is also extremely expensive there, potentially costing much of an average worker's salary. Compounding this is the ready availability of cheaper, Wi-Fi-ready iPhones in surrounding countries.