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Apple prepares an iPhone without WiFi for the Chinese market?

Business Week reports that the Chinese government has received an application from Apple to obtain a license to sell a device that accesses the cellular network and that does not include WiFi. The iPhone for the Chinese market, in short, would not allow WiFi connections as imposed by the Ministry of Industry and for Information Technology concerned about the possible use of applications deemed illegal on the Chinese market such as those for accessing networks VoIP to make calls over the network.

The inability to market iPhones with current features in China is certainly not new. For some time now almost certain that Cupertino will be forced to change the functionality of the phone to meet the particularities of the market in the most populous country in the world and among these, as Macity has explained on other occasions, there is also the need to eliminate WiFi. Furthermore, Apple markets in Egypt iPhones without a GPS function to respond to the law of the Arab country that prevents commercial and private use of devices for satellite positioning.

The iPhone without WiFi would allow to remove one of the obstacles that have hindered the official sale of the smartphone in China so far and to anticipate the time for the official launch by at least three months. The removal of WiFi should, in fact, speed up the bureaucratic procedures to unblock obtaining the necessary licenses and allow the agreements with China Unicom, one of the three large state-controlled carriers in the country, to be completed.

In 2003, the Chinese government approved a proprietary standard (rejected by ISO) for WiFi connections called WAPI (Wireless LAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure) and companies that want to sell WiFi equipment intended for the Chinese market must license the technology from local vendors. The suspicion of some that WAPI has some sort of backdoor that allows the occasion to decipher only apparently secure connections.

Recall that, despite the repetition of several analysts and some sites dedicated to rumors, Apple has no predictions for a rapid launch of the iPhone in China. During the last presentation of the tax results, Tim Cook formally indicated as a goal a launch "within the next year"; whether this means next fiscal year (which for Apple begins in October) or next calendar year (i.e. 2010) has not been clarified. (By Mauro Notarianni)