Apple Makes iPhone Model Using China's WiFi Standard
One of the main sticking points - other than its exorbitant price
- blocking wider acceptance of the officially-sanctioned iPhone in China has apparently been removed: the national regulatory agency has approved a new phone compatible with China's own WAPI wireless standard. The government of China had blocked the sale of WiFi-enabled iPhones by China Unicom, though grey-market iPhones with WiFi have been available in China for some time.
The Chinese government initially developed WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) purportedly as a way to overcome the flaws in Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which was easily cracked by US law enforcement officials
in about 3 minutes back in 2005. The Chinese standard was rejected by the International Standards Organization as the [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS4[/ame] block cipher it was based upon was a Chinese military secret, so it could not be independently validated. Attempts to require that all foreign WLAN gear sold in China must implement WAPI almost touched off a trade war
in 2004. The government did require in 2009, however, that all mobile devices sold in China must use WAPI. As a result, the iPhones officially sold by China Unicom since last year have not had WiFi capability.
PCWorld noted today
that the State Radio Monitoring Center
website shows a Chinese government frequency-use application for a previously-unknown Apple phone with the designator A1303. The device, which shows GSM/WCDMA frequencies identical to the iPhone's, is listed as being WAPI-compatible. The network access license was granted April 26.