Apple’s carrier partners in Singapore are removing the front- and rear-facing cameras from the Cupertino company’s latest iPhone 4S before selling it, according to a new report. The doctored devices are aimed at members of the military who are prohibited from taking cameras into their bases.
Carrier M1 briefly offered the camera-less iPhone 4S via its website earlier this week, according to MacRumors, but the devices are not sanctioned by Apple:
The camera-less phones are not, however, an officially-sanctioned product offered by Apple, as the carriers are simply removing the cameras from the standard devices before sale and charging a premium for the service.
The report also points out that by removing the cameras from the device, carriers are voiding Apple’s 12-month warranty. It’s possible, however, that they are offering warranties of their own to protect iPhone customers from defective devices..
The Jakarta Globe, which initially spotted the devices, reports that they must also be accompanied by a certificate from one of Singapore’s carriers to prove that the handset has been modified before they can be used by servicemen on base:
Following a year-long review, Mindef [the Singapore Defense Ministry] 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’.
While Singapore certainly isn’t the only country that suffers from restrictions on camera-equipped mobile devices, it’s the first we’ve heard of that’s modifying iPhones to get around them.