THE GLORIOUS APPLE RELIGION'S missionary quest in China seems doomed from the outset.
The Iphone, which has been a triumph of control freakery in the West, was launched in the highly commercial Chinese market over the weekend.
However Chinese buyers, who have to save up for months to buy the gizmo, were shocked to discover it had no WiFi.
China wanted the makers of smartphones to use its WiFi standard, but Jobs' Mob said that if the gear had not been approved by Steve then it was not going into the Iphone.
Beijing later changed its mind but it was too late for the Chinese release, so the first wave of Iphones without WiFi has gone out.
An Iphone without WiFi is one where you have to use the phone company for all functions and therefore incur a higher phone bill.
Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based technology research firm BDA China, told AP that the Chinese market will respond angrily to Western imperialistic behaviour. The feeling will be that if Americian capitalists provide things for Californians they should also provide them for the Chinese. With China such a big market tinkering with the WiFi should have been no big deal.
The other problem Apple has is that its deal with mobile operator China Unicom makes the gadget even more expensive.
There is a booming market for unlocked, WiFi friendly Iphones in the local Chinese markets. Most of the things come from overseas. They are 20 per cent cheaper and some of the second-hand models are half the price.
Apple has always had problems trying to sell its widgets places like China. In Russia it presented its techno-toys at the same price as it does in the US only to be laughed at by the technology press there.
The release of the Iphone in China was delayed because Apple found that the Chinese were not bending over backwards to give Apple huge wodges of cash like the Western telecoms have done.
All up it is looking like Apple's push into China is going to be about as successful as the Mongolian empire's attempts to take over Japan during the Middle Ages. µ
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