China Finally Has the iPhone 4 but it’s Censored


Apple might have recently released its iPhone 4 in China, but it’s not the same thing as what we have here back in the States. No, its FaceTime isn’t disabled like in the Middle East, but the whole smartphone is censored. How? Google Maps, Google Search and the rest are all crippled to exactly what China wants its citizens to see.

Users of a Chinese model iPhone 4 are restricted in how they can search. The iPhone Safari search bar only lets them search via Remember Google and China’s argument over censoring search results? cuts out all mentions of Tienanmen Square, and pretty much everything else blocked by China’s Great Firewall. It’s like a good chunk of the internet does not exist.

Besides just the limited searching abilities on the Chinese iPhone 4, Google Maps has been practically gutted. Parts of the world that are controlled by other countries but China claims belong to it are listed as… drum roll please: Chinese territory. Sorry India, it looks like the iPhone 4 thinks China controls Arunchal Pradesh. Oh, and whole parts of the Western world don’t have street names. It’s like they don’t exist! And guess what? Even if you change region settings, the iPhone 4 still does all of this. It’s built into the OS. Congratulations Apple, you’ve managed to appease the Chinese like no other tech company has.

Of course, the iPhone 4 at least has Wi-Fi abilities unlike the 3GS. It looks like in exchange for Apple kowtowing to China’s demands, it got to put in Wi-Fi (China has its own Wi-Fi standard that everyone likes to ignore). This might be a sign of the times of Western companies. Agree to demands or get things cut by government order.

What are Chinese customers to do? Get a stripped down iPhone 4 that pretends that China is the only country in the world, or go back to the grey market and get an iPhone 4 without the limitations? Ah, decisions decisions.

Let me know if you think Apple is doing the right thing here by appeasing China to get its iPhone into the market, or if you think Apple is just selling out. What’s next? A George Bush branded iPhone 4 that pretends Canada doesn’t have streets or that the US controls Afghanistan and Iraq? I kid, but that’s what this equals out to.

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