Unauthorized and Crippled iPhones Available in China

The iPhone can be bought in China, even though Apple Inc. isn't selling it there and the gadget doesn't function properly despite costing twice as much as in the United States. Enthusiasts willing to pay 8,800 yuan ($1,170), or more than twice the cost of the 4GB iPhone in the US ($499), can buy the iPhone at electronics markets in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the computer and electronics newspaper Dian Nao Bao reported in its Monday editions. While the Chinese version can make calls and send text messages, it can't receive calls and has a nonfunctional voicemail.

Apple is currently selling the iPhone only in the United States, where it's restricted to AT&T Inc.'s cellular network. Last month, hackers were successful in unlocking the device so that it could be used on other carriers. Apple spokesman Natalie Kerris said Tuesday the company was not aware of specific reports of its phones being sold in China but said the sales were not authorized. "We said we would launch the iPhone in Asia in 2008," she said. "This is not that launch."

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