Here (below) are a number new photos of the new China Unicom iPhone juxtaposed for comparison with an iPhone 3GS imported on the “parallel market” (parallel-market is the Chinese way of saying “grey-market”). There is no way to verify the authenticity of these photos, however the images showing the iPhone backside match up to previous published images of the first iPhone built for China Unicom – model A1324. Photos of the second iPhone for China Unicom (A1325 – based on iPhone 3GS) have yet to surface.
Thinking about a grey-market iPhone verses the official version?
The new photos below seem to confirm previous rumors that the official iPhone for China Unicom will come preloaded with a Skype app. This might make sense if the Skype VoIP calls/IMs are limited to WAPI/WiFi … but if there will be no WiFi on the iPhone for China, then Skype calls would eat into the China Unicom’s revenues. One report claims that the Skype app for China Unicom would be limited to international calling. This restriction makes sense from the carrier’s (China Unicom’s) point of view. Nonetheless, “authorized” VoIP calling in China would be a major change. Hopeful, but skeptical.
iPhones built specially for China Unicom will come preloaded with several “for China” apps and they will integrate with Unicom’s “Wo” portal and Apple’s China App Store (see: Two “offical” app stores for iPhone in China?). It will be interesting to see how the package of 3G services will function on official iPhones verses grey-market?
If reports prove true, China Unicom will offer several advanced 3G services on the Unicom iPhone including mobile TV (CCTV) and special NFC-embedded SIM-cards (“wave-to-pay”) for public transportation. Another advantage of the “official” Unicom iPhone is the ability to install updates without worry of “bricking” the iPhone (a serious concern for grey-market iPhone owners). One final plus for the official iPhone … it comes with a warranty.
The WAPI/WiFi status of the official Unicom iPhone is still subject to debate. Numerous reports state that the first model iPhone (A1324) will launch without WiFi. The second model (A1325) may have the WAPI/WiFi combo. Stay tuned.
NOTE: In photos below, the official China Unicom iPhone (A1324) is on the left. For comparison purposes, a grey-market (aka “parallel market”) import iPhone 3GS is on the right.