iPhone offered to the Chinese market since Oct 2009 via China Unicom lacks the WiFi feature. But according to PCWorld, Chinese regulators last month approved the frequency ranges used by a new Apple mobile phone with 3G and wireless LAN support. The device appears to be an iPhone and uses GSM and the 3G standard WCDMA, just like iPhones currently offered in China by local carrier China Unicom.
The move suggests Apple may soon launch a new version of the iPhone in China with Wi-Fi, a feature that regulations previously barred.
The new Apple phone does support WAPI, according to the Chinese regulatory site. If an iPhone with WAPI goes on sale, Apple would be one of the highest-profile companies to offer a device using the protocol.
The reference to “A1303” in the chinese language filing means this is likely a WAPI version of the iPhone 3GS, according to Engadget. The device, like all mobile phones, still must obtain a network access license from regulators if its maker wants to sell it in China.
Once released, it will be one of a few foreign handsets including Dell’s Mini 3i to feature the Chinese national standard for WLAN. Apple and local carrier, China Unicom, presumably hope to boost iPhone sales with this move.