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Chinese iPhone  (Source: AppleInsider)
Apple has not officially announced the deal at this time

The iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones in the market. Apple was able to ship over 5 million of the devices the last quarter alone. Apple has said previously that it will enter into the Chinese market with the iPhone, but had never put a hard date on its entry.

AppleInsider reports that a new model of the iPhone specifically for the Chinese market was approved back on May 7 by the China State Radio Regulatory Commission. The new model is reported to be a GSM/WCDMA mobile phone operating on the 900/1700/1900MHz bands. The device has Bluetooth, but Apple pulled Wi-Fi from the handset. The model was reportedly approved for use in China for the next five years.

According to some reports, the special Chinese model uses the Unicom WCDMA standard, which runs a 3G network that uses technology very similar to AT&T in the U.S. The leaked images of the new Chinese iPhone show that the device has 16GB of storage.

The deal between Apple and China Unicom is reported to have a minimum order threshold of $731 million in iPhone sales, which will guarantee orders of one or two million devices per year. According to rumors, China Unicom is paying $439 per iPhone unit, but it will reportedly sell the units for less than it is paying Apple for the devices.

The China Unicom deal should prove very lucrative for Apple, as the network is 170% larger than AT&T in terms of subscribers. The iPhone had bolstered Apple's profits and AT&T's margins in the U.S, but AT&T's stock has been marked as a sell by some analysts on the prospects of losing iPhone exclusivity.

Apple still isn’t announcing the date it will enter the Chinese market and only said in a recent earnings call that the negotiation would be a priority project.

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No WiFi?
By PrinceGaz on 7/31/2009 1:12:02 PM , Rating: 3
What is there to gain by removing WiFi from it? Surely that is one of its most useful features in terms of general internet connectivity. I can only assume that the telecoms operator they have partnered with want users to be forced to use an expensive data contract for all net access, rather than being able to go online for free from the user's own or some other available wifi connection.

RE: No WiFi?
By nEoMD on 7/31/2009 1:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are they removing any hardware that gives the iPhone WiFi functionality? If not, then surely someone will eventually break the iPhone's software that limits this. I'm seroius and don't call me surely.

RE: No WiFi?
By Flail on 7/31/2009 6:58:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm seroius and don't call me surely.

Surely you can't be serious?

RE: No WiFi?
By Rocket321 on 8/1/2009 10:25:18 AM , Rating: 2
They probably removed the wi-fi chip to make room for the added wcdma chip

RE: No WiFi?
By Hanakuso on 7/31/2009 2:06:57 PM , Rating: 5
Being forced to use high profit data plans is part of the reason. The Chinese government also wants to ensure that all data goes through the state-owned cell network where they have tighter controls.

RE: No WiFi?
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/31/2009 3:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
all data goes through the state-owned cell network where they have tighter controls

...and more importantly less anonymity.

RE: No WiFi?
By PandaBear on 7/31/2009 2:16:31 PM , Rating: 4
To force the user to use more data and therefore can charge them more. Seriously, the density of Wifi in China is so big that there is no way people would use a data plan if weren't forced to.

Let the hacking begin. To hell with the Great Firewall of China and its God Damn Censorship

RE: No WiFi?
By jconan on 8/2/2009 1:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
in china it's illegal to have wifi in phones. don't know why it could be that china is concerned that their citizens will bypass the great firewall security monitoring system and use some other voip system altogether...

What price?
By Alexstarfire on 7/31/2009 12:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
Wonder how much the phone will cost though. Doesn't matter if Unicom has 170% more subscribers if those subscribers have a third, but probably a lot less, the money than AT&T subscribers.

By Visual on 8/1/2009 5:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
you know, i think this is actually a good thing.

this way, the carrier company will be forced to buy these crippled phones from apple, but will not be able to sell them at all. then the retarded carrier company goes bankrupt, and we point and laugh.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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