Chinese Apple fans may be about to get their hands on officially approved iPhones soon, according to a report from the US, but it may be crippled in a bid to support state censorship there.

Research firm Wedge Partners says it has seen an application from Apple to the Chinese authorities for a licence to sell the iPhone officially.

Grey market begone

Previously, only grey-market imported iPhones have been available to use in China - over one million of them by some estimates.

Wedge also says, however, that Apple will be removing or disabling the Wi-Fi chip to meet Chinese requirements.

No hotspot for you

Apparently, the government prefers its citizens to get online through easily monitored phone networks, rather than through any old hotspot they happen to find.

While the implications for Apple's bottom line in China are obvious, we'll be keen to see what it says about crippling the phone's connectivity if the rumours turn out to be true.

Via BusinessWeek