Skip to comments.What's an iPhone worth in Canada?
Posted on 08/05/2007 4:16:06 AM PDT by xp38
The last place that Cameron Johnson expected his newly purchased iPhone to land him was in jail.
The 42-year-old Torontonian drove down to Buffalo last month on a mission to buy a couple iPhones one for himself, and the other he planned on selling on Craigslist with a substantial markup. But he forgot to declare the expensive goods to the Canada Custom officers, who caught the iPhone in Mr. Johnson's back seat at the Niagara Falls, Ont. border crossing.
"The one officer said to the other, 'Hey Ted, look! An iPhone!'" said Mr. Johnson, who manages a portfolio of online domain names. "And of course, they had to get rid of the grin and be serious with me. They said to me they had to seize [the iPhones] and I started blubbering."
It was a dark turn of events for Mr. Johnson, who wound up paying a $400 fine and an hour in a holding cell.
"I remember thinking to myself while I was in the holding tank, 'What am I doing here and why does my technolust get the best of me?'" said Mr. Johnson,
But you can hardly blame Mr. Johnson for getting caught up in the moment. After being released last June to a flurry of media attention and hype, the iPhone has emerged as the hottest consumer product to hit the market this year. And although more than a million iPhones that are estimated will be sold by the end of this quarter reside in the hands of happy Americans, some have managed to make their way north of the border.
Since the device isn't being retailed through one of the country's cellphone providers, Canadians who do own an iPhone have either hacked their way through the authorization process or pay steep international roaming fees while tethered to an AT&T contract.
Calgary resident Mike Stafford is one Canadian who is self-admittedly "paying through the nose," for his iPhone. Mr. Stafford never expected to be holding what Apple fans have dubbed the "Jesus Phone" in his hands, but after visiting San Francisco on business on the same day the device was being launched, the allure was just too strong for him to resist.
"About 11:50 p.m., we were just walking by the Apple Store and we noticed a couple security guards standing idly by out front. Just for a joke, I asked them if they're all sold out of iPhones and they said they still had some in stock," said the 32-year-old computer programmer. "A few minutes after I stepped inside, an Apple employee comes bursting in carrying the day's last shipment, so I wound up buying two of the 8 GB models."
Mr. Stafford originally wanted to turn around the units and sell them on eBay for a quick profit, but after some hemming and hawing, decided to activate one of the phones for his own use and sell the other one to a friend.
"I've got a U.S.-based phone with Verizon for business, so I thought I should be able to just switch it over [to my iPhone]. It took some working since I don't have a [U.S.] social security number, I had to give AT&T a $500 deposit. By the time I left to come home, I had a fully functional iPhone that works fine," said Mr. Stafford. "In Canada, I get shifted to the Rogers network, but the visual voicemail, Wi-fi, iPod, all that, it all works fine."
But using an iPhone isn't cheap. For his efforts, Mr. Stafford plunked down about $630 for the iPhone itself and locked into a two-year contract with AT&T that will run him at least $84 for 900 minutes of air time and unlimited data per month. Since he'll be outside of the Unites States and will be charged international roaming rates, he'll also have to pay an additional 65 cents per minute for plus another 50 cents for each text message he sends.
Mr. Stafford hasn't received his first bill yet, but expects to pay around $500, a staggering amount when you consider that a Blackberry plan with Rogers costs $95 per month for 50 MB of data transfer and 350 weekday minutes with unlimited evenings and weekends.
"I think it's worth it. It's expensive to use and I'm kinda scared to get my first bill, to tell you the truth," Mr. Stafford said. "But I don't use it a lot when I'm up here. If I friend calls me, I tell him I'll call him back on a land line. It's more or less if I'm totally mobile and I need to use it, I'll call someone for two minutes or something."
But there are ways to avoid emptying your wallet to use an iPhone, just as long as you're comfortable not using it as an actual cellphone. Since the iPhone was released, an underground movement has feverishly worked to try to unlock the device so it can be used on any cell phone network.
So far, the website http://iphone.fiveforty.net has published different ways that bypass the AT&T activation screen that gives you access to the iPhone's web browsing and iPod features, which is more than fine with Mr. Johnson.
"The fact that I manage a web company and never get to leave my computer, the Wi-Fi browser lets me manage my company, where I could never do it before [on a cellphone] It's literally changed my routine," said Mr. Johnson.
With all the attention focused on unlocking the iPhone so everyone can use it, Mr. Johnson believes it's only a matter of time until more Canadians will be risking imprisonment at the border to get an iPhone of their own.
"My feeling is that I'll be on my Fido account by September, using [the iPhone] unlocked. The Skype solution isn't there yet, but the minute it's there, people will get it," he said.
For the mac ping list.
It’s a friggin TELEPHONE!
Not really! it’s sort of poorly named. It’s primarily a portable web-surfing touch-screen computer, killer iPod, decent digital camera, PDA, that also happens to be a phone.
The part about overseas digital roaming charges is an important one. When you leave your cell plan area they can charge whatever they want, and they do. A $3000 phone bill isn’t out of the norm for someone who surfs the ‘net, sends some email over the course of a week or two. Be sure to get some kind of flat-rate plan rather than going “commando”.
Now we know — now we know why all those camps are being built under contract by the saucer aliens stored at Area 407 - iPhone Refugees! Those Apple groupies are completely bonkers, the % of neurotics must be staggering.
I was in Miami Beach last night at Lincoln Road Mall around 11pm and passed an Apple store. The place was packed and you could barely move. People were grabbing I-phones and testing them and Ipods and buying them. I am glad this is an American product.
Um, yeah, right.
So a profit-seeking smuggler gets popped at the border and now he’s a victim on a “protect the borders” site. Nice work, folks.
Well, it certainly wasn't "Apple Fans" who slapped it with that nickname... nor do I hear many calling it that. It was a Web pundit criticizing the hype that surrounded the iPhone. The only place you see that sobriquet is in articles that are slightly or more than slightly critical of the iPhone.
Use an iPhone, go to jail....
If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.
No, it's a Mac computer that also makes phone calls...
Mac users are a CULT!
I proudly attend the First Church of the Open Apple Key !
It's just a nice Smart Phone.
Geeks gone wild.
SF pingy dingy!
And you want to know what is funny about your statement - the guy who the article was about never mentioned what his preferred computer platform is, only that he got wrapped up in the hype (which I happen to know many PC users did).
And to take it one stpe further - if you visit a regular Mac related thread, you will notice that the Apple fans normally stick to standard defense of their chosen platform, while it is the PC Geek Boys who come into those threads and flame away, calling names, and generally being extremely rude.
So who is the cult?
The mac users are. It’s the same cult that goes to starbucks for coffee.
Sorry bud, but this is just plain crazy. Starbucks coffee is excellent. Not for all tastes but it is really good coffee to some. If you don’t like it that is one thing but to castigate those that do is frankly massively immature and stupid.