Singapore operator M1 has made its non-camera iPhone official. This comes a week after we first discovered the product pages for the devices on the company's Web site, which were most likely put online prematurely and subsequently pulled.
As reported earlier, the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S devices will cost S$49 ($38) more than the original versions. Each unit is bundled with a two-year plan from the operator--there's no option to buy one at full retail price without a service plan.
M1 is also not offering the service to current iPhone owners, so you can't bring your smartphone in to remove the camera. Note that Apple's original warranty will be rendered void by the modification, so buyers will not be guaranteed against manufacturer faults.
However, M1 will be giving an option to purchase a one-year warranty provided by a third-party vendor. This will cost an additional S$321 ($252), and will follow the warranty terms originally offered by Apple.
According to the operator, the camera modules (front and back) are completely removed, not just covered, and "may not be reinstalled." The service has been certified by Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef), which means they will be allowed in army installations in the island state. This benefits both full-time soldiers and many Singaporean men who are required to fulfill two years of mandatory military service. M1 will issue a certificate with each non-camera iPhone that will identify it as being approved by Mindef.
When contacted, the other two operators in Singapore, SingTel and StarHub, both said they are still in talks with Mindef to offer non-camera iPhones. They were unable to give release dates or prices at the moment.
(Source: Crave Asia)