Sometimes less really is more, but removing both the front and rear cameras from an iPhone 4S doesn't sound like the best way to attract new customers to your network.
That is however, precisely what Singapore-based carrier M1 are offering to potential customers and before you call for the men in white coats to take them away, there is method in their madness.
M1's unique iPhones were actually leaked on their site around a week ago however now the carrier have officially launched 'non camera' models of Apple's latest iPhone and its predecessor, the iPhone 4.
The operator say that the front and rear camera modules have been completely removed rather than just covered up and the altered hardware means that they 'may not be reinstalled'. But still the question remains, why?
Unless you're from Singapore you may not realize that men are required to fulfill two years of mandatory military service. These 'blind' iPhones have been certified by Singapore's Ministry of Defense (Mindef) for use within military installations, meaning those either in the army full-time or just in the service for their compulsory two years, can use them.
M1's iPhones will come with a certificate from Mindef on purchase too. Due to the nature of their modified hardware, these iPhones won't be available with Apple's original warranty but the option of a third-party one year plan will be available to new customers for an additional S$321 under the same terms as Apple's original warranty.
Each of these new models will retail for S$49 more than the 'classic' camera-endowed iPhone 4 and 4Ss respectively and users will have to enter into a two year plan from the operator to get one at all.
These offers and the removal of existing cameras from iPhones are not services offered by the network, so you're stuck with front and rear modules if you already own one of the typical iPhones.
There's also word that fellow carriers, SingTel and StarHub are in talks with Mindef to offer the same non-camera iPhones to customers, but we are yet to hear about pricing or release dates in those instances.