Almost as curious as the fact that China Unicom has started advertising Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone on its Shanghai website — even though no agreement to sell the device in China has been announced — are some of the advanced features Unicom is promoting.
As Dan Butterfield reported early Wednesday on his iPhonAsia website, these include several functions that aren’t officially available on current model iPhones, including:
- Mobile TV
- Tethering (connecting a laptop to a cell phone’s wireless network)
- Video conferencing
The first item — wave-to-pay — is of particular interest to Chinese customers, according to Butterfield. Visa Inc. (V) offers similar service in the United States, called Paywave, whereby cardholders can make purchases at some 32,000 retailers by waving their Visa card in front of special point-of-sale cardreaders. In Japan, half of cell phone owners — about 50 million users — carry phones that have so-called near field communications capability built-in. (link)
Will the next-generation iPhone — expected to arrive in July — also have it?
China Unicom seems to think so. Here’s how the capability is described on its Shanghai website (translation provided by iPhonAsia):