Unicom's first iPhones lack WiFi, a possible handicap with sophisticated, demanding Chinese buyers. The technology, a key part of the iPhone's appeal, allows the phones in other markets to use wireless networks in cafes and offices to download e-mail and the latest applications for free.
"There's going to be a perception that the phone they have is dumbed down from the one that somebody has in California," said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a Beijing-based technology research firm. "We've seen before that Chinese consumers don't like to be treated like second-class citizens."
Apple Inc. and Unicom also could face competition from an unusual source: unlocked iPhones brought in from abroad that have WiFi.
I can see why the imported phones would be more desired, but why didn't Apple wait until they had a. Batch of WiFi enabled phones and sell them head to head with a price to reflect the shortcomings of the lesser model. Selling it "as is" makes Apple look a bit stupid, although the Chinese governments descision to ban the sale of WiFi enabled devices whilst a rival protocol was being developed seams insane.