Inventory of iPhone 3G Worldwide

Apparently the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 3G will only be available to the selected few, at least in Hong Kong.

Yesterday, O2 began announced that their pre-orders for the iPhone 3G had been filled and ask interested customer to return to their web site on July 10th to find information on new inventory and next availability.

Similar situation in Hong Kong with Apple’s partner carrier, “3”. I have inside sources informs me that their initial inventory of 500 Apple iPhone 3G had already been sold out 2 weeks ago. There was no limits placed on the number of phones each person were allow to purchase. Therefore, some of the selected few were able to purchase a dozen iPhone 3G, while the rest of us, under privileged in the eyes of Li Ka Shing’s mobile carrier “3”, will not be able to get an iPhone 3G on Friday, July 11th, even if I am willing to change carrier and choose one of the high tariff plans offered. Of course, I am not, so I am not too concern.

For the rest who are already a 3 customer or willing to switch carriers, I think this is very unfair and Apple HK should have been managed the situation better. Although, this sort of insiders privilege is a common occurrence in Hong Kong, Apple HK should have imposed a maximum purchase quantity so that as many individuals can share the Apple experience and privilege of owning an iPhone 3G on July 11th.

Blind Imitations

As with everything that Apple does in the past 24+ years, everyone tries to copy what they do.

We saw it with the removal of a floppy disk from a computer (1990s). Initially the critics were criticizing Apple for removing the floppy disk being a stupid idea. Then manufactures begin to imitate what Apple does. Eventually we saw the death of floppy disk and drives.

Apple added Firewire (IEEE 1394) ports (late 1990s) to all their computers and “uneducated” critics thought that it was a proprietary port that Apple force upon consumers and was a waste.

Apple promoted the use of CD-R drives on all their computers, again critics claims that that was a stupid idea as CD-R media was too expensive and say that no one will need such large amount of storage for personal use. Apple does not listen and sent out all their Developers Program media on CDs only.

Apple took the MP3 player, redesigned it and released the iPod in 2003, the same critics come along and claim that Apple is just imitating manufactures like iRiver and others who had MP3 players in the market for years. What Apple did instead was reinvented the mobile music concept with the 3-prong team of the iPod, iTunes audio jukebox and the iTunes Music Store.

Competitors try to imitate what Apple had done, by coming out with what they claim “iPod killers”, which are devices that look like the iPod superficially but does not have the usability, nor do they have iTunes or the iTunes Music Store.

Others also try to over throw Apple’s lead in the online music retail by launching their own online music stores to compete with Apple’s iTunes Music Store, but again they do not have the iPod or the iTunes music jukebox.

In 2007 Apple released the iPhone 2G and changed the mobile phone industry. What they had done was to push the envelop of mobile phone design. They did not try to just create an extraordinary mobile phone, they also wanted to create an ultimate mobile connected information device. In doing so caused all the competitors to rethink their own mobile phone design directions.

Some critics criticizes the fact that the iPhone is not comparable to most high end smart-phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, HTC, etc., but what these critics keep missing is what Apple claims the iPhone 2G is capable of and that Apple is using the iPhone 2G as the first-device for the platform.

Can you remember what the iPod was like back in 2003? Could you have imagine the “3rd generation iPod nano” or the “2nd generation iPod Shuffle”? Can you image what the iPhone will be like in 5 years?

Over the years Apple had mostly been successfully in setting the expectations of their customers and audiences for Apple products and services. With the launch of the iPhone 2G on June 29, 2007, Apple released numerous amount of information; including videos, of what the iPhone is and the various things one can do on it.

Similarly, AT&T wanted to do the same expectation management with the launch of the iPhone 3G, and created the AT&T iReady program; including videos. What the iReady program and accompany videos did was to highlight the complexities of purchasing a mobile phone from a carrier and how poor a shopping experience it is.

Apple’s iPhone 3G is Finally Here in Hong Kong

Apple iPhone 3GAn hour ago Apple’s co-founder, CEO, Steve Jobs, announced the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 3G during the keynote speech at the WWDC 2008 in San Francisco. It will be available July 11, 2008 in 70 countries around the world.

The announcement had some surprises; confirmation of built-in GPS. All in all were information that many of the rumor sites had already published: 3G radio, longer battery life, multiple colours (Black and White) and lower price. What was missing, that I had hoped for was video conferencing or Mobile iChat. Well there is just over a month before the actual release date, may be there is another higher version at the USD399.00 price point: more storage 32GB and video conferencing to be announced before the date.

Yes, Apple lower the price of the 8GB version to USD199.00 and the 16GB version to USD299.00. Making one to speculate there may be yet another model at the original USD399.00 price. I think I may hold out for that.

The most interesting is that it showed up on Apple HK’s Store, but when I try to follow the “Find a store” link within the page, it gave me a “Page Not Found” error. I guess Apple forgot to put up a “Coming Soon” page for this. As Hutchison Telecom had already announced last week that it signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone 3G through is “3” mobile brand. I just hope that it is not the only carrier that will carry the iPhone 3G in Hong Kong.

During the keynote, Steve Jobs failed to offer any details of Apple’s business arrangements with these mobile carriers in the 70 countries. It is already know from the various mobile carrier press releases in the past several weeks, there are more than one carrier in a most of these 70 countries that will be selling the iPhone 3G.

The Apple Stock had a roller coaster ride during the 2 hours of the keynote, taking a dive of almost USD4.00 during the 3rd party application demos; which most have seen during the announcement of the iPhone SDK in January, then rising to a high of USD184+ when the 3G iPhone was (“confirmed”) announced by Steve Jobs. It then drop a USD6.00 dollars when everyone realize there’s no “Just One More Thing” announcement.

I think both the market and myself was expecting Steve Jobs (Apple) to detail their future business arrangements with the mobile carriers in these 70 countries. Being a shareholder myself (full disclosure), hopefully Apple will release more details as we get closer to the actual release date of July 11th.

The one other surprise and rumor confirmation was the announcement of MobileMe, which is the next generation of .Mac for Macintosh computers, Windows computers and iPhones. To put it simply, it is a Web 2.0 refresh of (the over due revamp) .Mac service. Although, given its compatibility with iPhones (equipped with 2.0 firmware), I may again have a use for this service. Given I can install version 2.0 of the iPhone firmware on my current hacked iPhone 2G.

[Update: June 10, 2008]
Thank to the reader, AC, I just checked Apple’s “Find a Store” link and it is now pointing to a page where it lists “3” as the mobile carrier to purchase the iPhone.

Apple Apple has composed a new page which list all the countries where the iPhone will be available after July 11, 2008.

First of Hong Kong’s Carriers to Get the iPhone

3 HK LogoIt is reported that the first of Hong Kong’s mobile carriers: CSL (with two brands 1010 and One2Free), People (recently purchased by China Telecom), Sunday (recently purchased by PCCW), Smartone-Vodafone (with a partnership involving the mobile giant, Vodafone) and Hutchison Telcom’s Orange and 3. The latter is where Hutchison announced that they will resell the Apple iPhone later this year in Hong Kong and Macau.

Recently Apple shows signs of changing their business model for the iPhone partnerships with carriers. When Apple is predicted to make their announcement of the next generation iPhone, at the keynote speech of the WWDC, there will be multiple carriers selling iPhones for any given country.

With this in mind I am hoping the big brother of Smartone-Vodafone will be reselling the iPhone also.

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Vodafone releasing iPhone Press Release

Vodafone logoThe reaction to the Vodafone announcement that it has strike a deal with Apple to release the iPhone in 10 countries: Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, was a mix bag of haters, be-littler and fan-boy.

The iPhone arriving in Asia had been anticipated for some time. The latest is definitely good news for all the countries mentioned in the Vodafone press release.

As we all know, Vodafone has one of the largest worldwide mobile network, and has 3G coverage in many of them.

Whether Vodafone waited for the 3G version of the iPhone before signing the deal with Apple, no one really knows for sure accept the parties in these talks. Whether Apple will retire the 2.5G version of the iPhone is also a speculation.

No matter which country you’re in, there are consumers who are happy with the speed and capabilities of a 2.5G network iPhone, and there are ones who need and want to pay for a 3G network iPhone. Ironically, the only exception being the United States, as 3G coverage is not that prevalent in North America.

Critics; particularly the Americans, should step back and recognize that Apple is aiming at the global mobile phone market and not just United States.

As for the original rumors about the iPhone’s Asian launch, the stages are:
India –> Australia/New Zealand –> Taiwan –> Hong Kong –> China.

Personally living in Hong Kong, should make me feel like a second class citizen; in this case 3rd or even 4th. But I am not disappointed, because like the thousands of iPhone users in Hong Kong, we are happily using our jailbroken/unlocked iPhone on every local carrier network since June 2007. Like most early adopters, will continue to do so until the 3G network version comes out, which I will upgrade to… anyone likes to buy an used iPhone?

What is Your Most Desired Native iPhone Application?

Now that the iPhone has been officially released for over four months, in four different countries. What is the most desired native application you wish someone, other than Apple, will release?

By “native” I mean application that runs on the iPhone without Safari (MobileSafari).

Before anyone say it, I do know about the vast number of 3rd party applications alresdy out there. I have used many of them, but what I am talking about here are the sanctioned 3rd party applications released by developers utilizing Apple’s official iPhone SDK.

My most desired is something that will be the IM (instant messenger) consolidator, like Adium on the Macintosh and Trillian on Windows. Currently there are MobileChat and Apollo from 3rd party developers, but neither works consistently nor do they allow simultaneous logins to multiple IM services at the same time.

The other thing that I really really wish the iPhone has is copy-and-paste. Apple being the first to made popular the concept of copy-and-paste in its Macintosh OS 24+ years ago, did not release a subset of Mac OS X for the iPhone with copy-and-paste, is very surprising. Now with 6 revisions of the iPhone firmware, we still have yet to see this feature on the iPhone. I wonder if a 3rd party using the official Apple SDK will be able to bring us this feature prevalent across every user interface and applications in the iPhone.

Another cool app will be something to do with the built-in camera on the iPhone. A simple application like MobilePhotoBooth or a more complexed application which will assist with uploading taken photos to the various photo sharing sites: Flickr, Smugmug, etc.. I know there are currently iFlickr and Pushr, but both are flaky and unstable.

Smartone-Vodafone Really Doesn’t Know

Over the past 3 months in preparation of my eventual iPhone usage on the Smartone-Vodafone network, I began testing to see which is the best combination Smartone-Vodafone data plan to subscribe to.

Prior to August of this year I subscribed to Smartone-Vodafone’s “HKD118.00/month Data Plan”, which gave me 10MB of usage per month and a HKD15.00/MB thereafter. While using my Nokia E61i at the time I frequently exceeds my 10MB allocation for the plan. I also did not use the GPRS access freely due to the limit imposed by the plan. Continue reading “Smartone-Vodafone Really Doesn’t Know”

iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Three

Last week I unlocked an iPhone and tested it with a SIM card from Smartone-Vodafone. Today I unlocked another iPhone and this time using a SIM Card from Three (2G service without Data plan).

Next I will be unlocking my own iPhone on Smartone-Vodafone. I have commented on my article last week, regarding the most appropriate data plan to choose from Smartone-Vodafone for iPhone use in Hong Kong. I have copied the comment here for my readers’ convenience. Continue reading “iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Three”

iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone

Many of you know that I was in North America this past two weeks and was also in New York City.

While at NYC I spent some time at the 5th Ave. Apple Store gaining some hands on experience with the iPhone. This was the first time I saw the iPhone in person and played with its applications and Multitouch interface. I will talk more about this in a separate post.

Getting back to the topic in question. While in NYC last week much had transpired regarding the unlocking (release of the lock down of the iPhone to the AT&T carrier). End of last month iPhone SIM Free announced that they had a software to unlock the iPhone from AT&T iron fist. They said that they will be selling the software on a per user (iPhone) license within a few days. Weeks had past and no announcements. Continue reading “iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone”

Apple iPhone to have 8 Hour Talk Time

Apple® today announced that the iPhone™ will deliver significantly longer battery life when it ships on June 29 than was originally estimated during the unveiling back in January.

Although, with all the non-mobile phone features one would need all the battery life possible.

It is unfortunate that Apple is forced to compare its iPhone with phones from the other manufactures like Nokia, Samsung and Blackberry. I think that iPhone is in a class of its own and will definitely shake up mobile phone / multi purpose portable device market, but personally do not think that any of the existing mobile phones can be compared.

I think that Apple also realize this, but most potential consumers do not, therefore they must compare these parameters (listed) of the iPhone with other devices.

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