Mobile Nature :

Finally, WiFi Coming with New Apple iPhones in China

It has been a Long March to put WiFi on the Apple  iPhones released in China, but starting next Monday, August 9, all new iPhones will be equipped with WiFi. Chinese regulators prevented WiFi abilities on mobile devices while authorities attempted to get their own WAPI standard adopted.

A combination of Western patience and Chinese pragmatism led to this reconsideration, a situation I predicted in an earlier essay, almost exactly a year ago in, “First Marco Polo, Now the iPhone in China.”

Many have felt that the lack of WiFi has held back the iPhone’s sales. A large black market of iPhones with WiFi has been present in China for some time. The introduction of four WiFi capable models from Taiwan’s HTC into the Chinese market has only increased the competitive intensity.

Apple’s partner, China Unicom Ltd, will sell 8 gigabyte iPhones with third-generation service and Wi-Fi throughout China starting August 9th, 2010. They will continue to offer 16 and 32 gigabyte models of the iPhone without WiFi.

These improvements and the advent of Apple Stores in China like the store just opened in Shanghai on july 10th, will improve the competitive prospects of the iPhone in China. Wireless ability in the Chinese iPhone and the widening international App Store will help the app developers on both sides of the Pacific.

China Unicom Ltd currently sells the iPhone 3G and the 3GS but is in discussions with Apple to carry the iPhone 4 and the iPad in the future.

Originally published in the Swiss online newspaper,, reedited for WholeThinking.

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