Apple’s iPhone launch leaves Canadians i- envious

Thursday, June 28th, 2007


George Thaut and his sister- in- law Amy Thaut sit in front of an AT& T phone store in Orem, Utah, on Wednesday. The two started camping out on Tuesday waiting for the official release of Apple’s iPhone on Friday.

OTTAWA — When American technology fans head out to get their iPhone fix Friday night, Canadians could be left with a severe case of I- envy.

The new cellphone from Apple Inc. is being sold only in the U. S., and Apple Canada says there are no current plans for a Canadian launch.

The device isn’t the first music- player, laptop computer and cellphone rolled into one, but by building on Apple’s IPod player, it has has some big attractions – stylish looks, a dead- simple user interface and access to the huge iTunes song library.

Complaints from Canadians about its lack of availability are jamming Internet chat rooms. Some say they will buy iPhones in the United States to use on the Rogers Wireless cellular network, which uses the same GSM technology as AT& T, the device’s U. S. carrier.

“ I’m not rich but I saved up 2k to get two phones with all accessories,” wrote one, going by the name Cuzz323, on the Ehmac. ca forum.

Getting a unit could be difficult, however, at least in the next few weeks. Potential buyers are already lining up, and analysts expect the new phone will sell out within hours of going on sale at 6 p. m. Friday.

And getting it to work in Canada could be even harder.

“ I wish them the best of luck,” said Carmi Levy, senior vice- president of strategic consulting for Toronto research company AR Communications Inc. “ There is no guarantee that the product will work the way it is suppose to.”

Like most cellphones, the iPhone has been electronically “ locked” to work only on one network. According to reports, it will not accept SIM cards from other networks, such as Rogers.

Odette Coleman, a spokeswoman for Rogers Wireless, warned iPhone fanatics that the phone could be nothing more than an expensive paperweight in Canada right now. It costs $ 499 to $ 599 US, depending on model.

“ Since the iPhone has been optimized to function on the AT& T [ Cingular] network, we don’t know the issues the customer would face,” she said.

“ As an example, it is likely that data applications would not be possible and the voice function would not be optimized for our network, which could mean a lot of dropped calls and compromised reception.”

Coleman noted that it is against Rogers policy to unlock the phones of other networks. She refused to comment on what Rogers employees will do if people manage to unlock their iPhones and demand that Rogers activate the phones on its network.


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