Apple’s iPhone 4 not Doing FaceTime in the Middle East?

Ah the rumor mill is spinning—Apple’s new iPhone 4 might not get FaceTime abilities in the Middle East when it officially goes on sale in the region. The regional versions of Apple’s website for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt are missing something very important when it comes to the iPhone 4. There is no mention of FaceTime! Remember all of the drama going on in the Middle East right now that might just get the BlackBerry banned in some places? It looks like Apple is trying to sidestep it.

While no one knows yet if FaceTime will be disabled on iPhone 4s that hit these countries, a quick poke through Apple’s international website versions shows that where the FaceTime is plugged for most of the world, it is missing for the aforementioned countries. Even the cool Apple picture of an iPhone 4 doing FaceTime have been redone to take out any hint of the feature.

Perhaps the disclaimer at the bottom of Apple’s various iPhone 4 webpages are a hint: “Some features, applications and services are not available in all areas. See your carrier for details. Application availability and pricing are subject to change.” Hmm.

So what is up? Apple might just have decided to not showcase the feature because of local cultural and religious feelings towards the idea video calling. It could be in store for those countries or it might not be. Apple is keeping mum as always.

With all of the problems that Research In Motion (RIM) is still dealing with because of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service and how it encrypts data, Apple might just be trying to avoid ruffling any feathers. Of course, Apple’s iPhone does not route internet services through encrypted servers in North America like RIM’s smartphones do. If countries want to ban a messaging/calling service themselves, they can do so quite easily. FaceTime also requires a Wi-Fi connection on non-jailbroken iPhone 4s, so again, local ISPs are in control here, not Apple.

We will have to wait for word from the ground when the iPhone 4 launches in these countries to know what is really up. Got an opinion? Let me know.

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