Apple may have blinked first in the ongoing battle with the Chinese government to allow the company to sell a Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone in that country.
The back-and-forth battle between Apple and China's Ministry of Industry and Information may be coming to a close. According to a BusinessWeek report, Apple has applied for a Network Access License that would allow the company to begin selling the iPhone without Wi-Fi.
In typical fashion, Apple has reportedly been hard-nosed in negotiations with the Chinese government over the iPhone. However, the government has been just as hard-nosed, refusing to allow Apple to sell the Wi-Fi-enabled phone in China.
AppleInsider guesstimates that the approval process for the iPhone would take four to six months, making a potential launch date no later than January 2010.
Of course, the iPhone is being used in many countries where it is not officially sold, China being one of them. The ability to unlock the phones and use them on any compatible network has made the iPhone popular worldwide.
Bringing a Chinese company, speculated to be China Unicom, on board as an official carrier would enable Apple to open the iPhone to a huge market of potential growth. It's unclear what the lack of Wi-Fi will do for the popularity of the smartphone, but it's obviously a concession that Apple felt was worth making.