There is no denying the world wide popularity that the Apple iPhone has enjoyed since its initial launch in 2007. Nearly five years down the line and that popularity shows no sign of decreasing with the current iPhone 4S model being available in over 100 carriers, across more than 70 countries.
The fact that the form of the device is exactly the same as the previous model led critics to claim that the iPhone 4S would not enjoy the same dominance over rivals that its predecessors have had. However, with over four million units shipped in the first three days after launch, the 4S not only proved the critics wrong, but is Apple’s most successful product launch to date.
The specification of the device itself is consistent across all of the markets and countries it has been released in, differing only in the chosen storage size selected by users. During the keynote speech which preceded the 4S launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook paid particular attention to the new 8 mega pixel camera with back-side illuminated sensor, making sure it was evident to consumers that this was one of the main features of the device.
But, as much as Apple clearly love the new, improved camera in the 4S, it seems that Singapore based carriers are gearing themselves up to offer the iPhone 4S to their customers with the camera fully stripped out. At first glance, the sale of such devices might seem slightly odd to us, considering the popularity of such applications as Instagram which rely on the device’s camera. When taking into account a statement from the countries defense ministry, the situation becomes a little clearer:
Following a year-long review, Mindef recently issued guidelines to its servicemen on the use of such smartphones.
It is understood that servicemen with these phones must show a certificate to prove that their handsets were modified by any one of the local telcos.
Last September, Mindef spokesman Desmond Tan told The Straits Times that Mindef and the SAF were ‘exploring ways to allow our personnel to use smartphones while maintaining our current security policy on disallowing personal image-capturing devices to be used on Mindef/SAF premises’.
An iPhone without a camera would obviously allow members of the military to fall in line with guidelines whilst still being able to own the must have Apple device. The modifications themselves are made by the carriers, and as a result are not official sanctioned by Apple causing the warranty to be void, but this seems to be a small price to pay to capture what could be a lucrative customer base for the networks.