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.
How is it illegal to take a phone (iPhone or not) into Canada? I take one when I go and an iPod and a MacBook. Maybe taking one in for resale but for personal use?
I was hoping iPhone could fit the bill. However, the fact that it is missing iTunes means I still need to drag the laptop and look for WiFi. iTunes (and slightly more capacity) would make this work for me.
Macdonnald’s coffee beat starbucks in blind taste tests.
Canaduh has phones?... I thought they just had the telegraph...
“Macdonnalds coffee beat starbucks in blind taste tests.’
But not everybody that drinks coffee is blind.
THat’s the problem. Too may people see the brand name on the cup and fool themselves.
It is a version of OSX... If Apple installed Adobe CS on it, it would run... probably not too fast, though.
Well.... I gotta admit it. I am sitting at a table about 30 feet from Starbucks Coffee in the Sacramento Airport... but I am drinking a large diet Coke from the Burger King next door.
I am on my way to Indiana where my 90 year old aunt is dying of Acute Leukemia... not a pleasurable trip.
Nah... they wish... smoke signals and semaphores are the current "in" thing...
SF gave me one!! :) i love it!!
I just enjoy tweaking Mac users for a variety of reasons.
You go ahead and spend $5+ for a cup of coffee several times a day while I make it myself for 2 cents.
Its not illegal. He didn’t declare them. Since their value exceeds the amount you can bring back tax free, he basically is considered to have evaded taxes.
What do you mean it is missing iTunes. The iPhone includes a full function iPod.
why not just unlock it an put it a local gsm chip.
That is the beauty of GSM phones.
One chip, many phones for various occasions and needs.
“I am glad this is an American product.”
Not really -
“The iPhone and other new product releases from Apple will likewise help to strengthen Nanya PCBs performance in the second half. Shipments, including that of HDI boards, IC substrates and rigid-flex boards are all projected to grow in the meantime.”
“What do you mean it is missing iTunes. The iPhone includes a full function iPod.”
I believe he is refering to the fact that, like an ipod, you need to have a REAL internet comnnected computer to be able to purchace and load songs into it.
“What do you mean it is missing iTunes. The iPhone includes a full function iPod.”
I mean what I said iPhone is missing iTunes - as are all iPods.
“You go ahead and spend $5+ for a cup of coffee several times a day while I make it myself for 2 cents.’
I don’t but I don’t think it is a big deal (BTW, they are not five bucks). When I travel sometimes I buy one. I buy the coffee at the Pubix for home brewing. Some people are smart enough to have jobs that give them “disposable” income. Trust me it’s not a bad thing.
“I believe he is refering to the fact that, like an ipod, you need to have a REAL internet comnnected computer to be able to purchace and load songs into it.”
Geez, I wonder what is worse the FReepers that think it is horrible that people have the dough to spend $5/10 bucks a day on coffee they LIKE. Or those that do not understand the question but have an answer. Listen up dude. iPhone DOES connect to the internet. However, to access the Apple music store you need iTunes. iTunes is how I get my daily Rush 24/7 podcasts. If iPhone had iTunes I would not need to find a Wifi hotspot and drag the laptop on all trips.