November 4, 2007 14:36 | MacStuff

So you want an iPhone eh?

Very quick email I just sent to an acquaintance in Montreal who was asking if he should get an iPhone and have it unlocked. I know a bit about it so...

So basically here's the deal:

the iPhone is not yet being sold in Canada. That means if you get one, you are *outside of the frameworks that Apple and their carrier* want you to be in.

Those frameworks are:
- economic
- technical
- political (support?)

If you buy an iPhone and have it unlocked, be aware that:
- Apple will continue releasing software updates that will kill your iPhone if you install them
- to bypass this you have to do alot of work, staying on top of hacker community developpments
- pay someone who does that for you.
- never install updates. totally acceptable current functionality will continue to work indefinitly

When the iPhone does come to Canada, it will be because Rogers (and/or Fido) will finally offer a special rate plan for data access. "So what" you may say. Well. About 80% of the cool features of the iPhone rely on a data connection, either "EDGE" or "WiFi". WiFi is free at home and here and there at caf├ęs etc (though rare). "EDGE" is expensive. Very expensive. In fact Canada has the highest mobile data rates *in the world*. No shit.

So when Rogers/Fido release the iPhone they will *have to* introduce a special data plan (because Apple won't sell it via them otherwise). When they do this, *do not* expect to show up at Fido/Rogers and say "hey I have this iPhone, gimme the rate plan!" They will tell you to take a hike, because you got the phone otuside of their "jurisdiction", outside of their economic framework.

There are basically two kinds of people who by and unlock iPhones:
- showoff morons with too much money
- hackers/mobile technology geeks who buy 2-3 new mobile devices every six months anyways and who don't care about restrictions and work involved.

Still want it? ;)

p.s.: They say "where there's smoke there's fire", and there is *alot* of noise about Rogers offering the iPhone as of this January. Let's see.


oboy oboy are the mobile data rates expensive I just learned when getting my phone bill. They were so ridiculous I had to laugh out loud.

That said, had a terrific time seeing you in Montreal. Hope to do it again.

Hmmm.... I'm getting an iPhone this month from NY... this is really making me rethink the whole thing.

On the other hand approx. 250,000 of the iPhones sold to date are operating unlocked so at some point the powers that be will have to address the issue - that's a quarter of a million customers to bring home.

Rogers just doesn't want to give up the good thing they've got going. There was an article in the Globe and Mail comparing a Rogers dataplan to similar service in Europe... they're charging us double!

I commented this on the wrong post earlier.. sorry Bo!

Fido actually had the only decent data plan ever in Canada as far as I know and they had it in exactly the context you describe, but for the Danger Hiptop/Sidekick thing. It was like 20$ for unlimited data. It's a wonder there wasn't riots (Fido doesn't even offer unlimited data otherwise).

I wonder if Fido would now be brokering a similar "what the fuck, lets just do it anyway as long as they sign the 3-year and only use this device" deal with Apple had they not been bought by Rogers (the danger offer was before the merger and you can't sign up for it anymore). Definitely an acute example of how having only 1 (one) GSM network owner in Canada limits the possible outcomes (and seeing as how bad things are, more outcomes could only be good).

Yeah that's exactly the story I tell people usually as well.
The other side of the problem is that we have a totally unconscious market: too few people realised that situation, or even come close to understanding it now. Mobile is wizardly voodoo still and as such they just swallow whatever the shawman throws at them. :\

Did you see? Fido has 3G... with a 12Meg monthly allowance. It's idiotic! I upload 2Meg pictures 3-4 times a day!

maybe I am in one of those two kinds of people. iPhone in Seoul even without phone functionality(so to sepeak... 'i'?). Guess I should move to a country that I can have GSM network.

but you work in the field, so for us it is "research" + gadget fetish no? ;)