my expected Jobsian response...
China change your mobile standard. Not that big a deal.
China Mobile's inability to sell the latest tech is starting to hurt, with the company's head asking Apple to develop a TD-SCDMA version of the iPhone, please. The call came during the company's annual results as the FT reports - Wang Jianzhou (chair and CEO of China Mobile) pointed out that RIM is prepared to create a China- …
When I was in Beijing, China Unicom lagged behind China Mobile, until 3G was available. Generous 'pay as you go' tariffs already available meant it the odd surfing or QQ was done on the subway by quite a few people.
Many people over there realise the futility of China pursuing its own 3G standard, but understand it is for good reason. If this was the USA, we all know they'd be doing exactly the same. Western mobile phones are expensive due to the tax, ironic given most are manufactured and boxed in China. But Chinese phones are often rubbish, with the exception of the odd brands even the Westerner will recognise, such as 'Lenovo' mobile phones.
China Unicom's 3G offering is really quite expensive at the minute, and I suspect it will not take off until the 3G non Chinese branded mobile phones become significantly cheaper. Faster browsing, fine, but the massive negative affect on battery life is known to most also.
China Unicom and China Mobile are owned by two very rich people who are well known to each other historically, meaning tariffs and prices are artificially similar. In reality there isn't as much choice in the real sense due to this.
China is an oppressive regime that dictates every last detail of what its citizens can do, while a huge government-owned PR machine tries to tell us all that it's for their own good and everyone is happy with the way things are. They want control over every bit of technology used in their country, and to be able to mandate exactly how everything works and what it does with your data.
It's not that Apple's morally opposed to that - they just don't want the competition. ;)
China's version of CDMA uses SIM cards, which means you have the interchangeable SIM card us GSM users are used to. The nice feature that gives you the ability to swap handsets & keep your number without dealing with your carrier. Hell, that's the main reason I hate CDMA, having the handset directly associated with my mobile number is so 1999.
This is of course available on CDMA2000 1xRTT services around the world, too, it is called R-UIM and it is SIM card by any other name. Read more on Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removable_User_Identity_Module
If your carrier haven't adopted these, well, sucks to be you.
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