• Expensive iPhone Debuts in China Without WiFi

    The Wall Street Journal reports today on China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.'s launch of the iPhone by noting the price of a 32-GB iPhone 3GS without a service contract: 6,999 or the equivalent of $1,024. The phones also lack WiFi, due to government restrictions in place at the time the phones were manufactured.

    With pay-as-you-go service - which is the popular method of staying connected in China - the WSJ notes that over two years, the cost of ownership of a legitimate iPhone will be over $3,000, which is about what the average person makes in a year. The cheapest phone offered by China Unicom costs 4,999 or about $730. In comparison, unlocked 3GS phones are commonly available at electronics stores for around 4,000, and have full WiFi capability.

    The official phones had slow sales on the first day, likely due to both the high cost and the lack of WiFi. The Chinese government had imposed a mandate requiring that any wireless device manufactured in or imported into China must use the WAPI encryption scheme, which is incompatible with IEEE 802.11. The restriction was lifted in May, but not before devices without the WiFi chip had already gone into production.

    The Associated Press reports that the carrier intends to launch WiFi with the next batch of phones they sell. "We are talking with Apple and expect the problem to be solved by the end of this year," a China Unicom spokesman said.

    image via TheAppleBlog
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