To iPhone or not to iPhone, That is the Question.

by Alexei Rivera | June 14, 2008 12:14 am

supp_maps20080609[1] So Steve Jobs came out with his turtleneck and jeans once more to wow some rabid fanboys (and pretentious art freaks) about the latest expensive apple products in the last WWDC. (That’s World Wide Developers Conference for the uninitiated, or could care less.)

Of the announcements made, a new iPhone (3g) was announced! (Cue applause) Now don’t get me wrong, the iPhone isĀ  a remarkable device, both stylish and user-friendly. However, it did lack a bunch of things – like, a phone few common features like MMS, video recording, voice dialing, and a flush headphone jack (lol apple), and maybe a price tag that doesn’t make me buy a new Xbox 360 instead and keep my $10 prepaid US cellphone.

So now the 3G version has… 3G. And GPS. Which is pretty cool. The last iPhone used the slow EDGE network and made you hate yourself for ever trying to use the interwebs. True GPS on the 3G version makes you find yourself if you ever lose the ability to read signs. And thats about it. Oh, yeah, the battery lasts a bit longer. (I’d have to commend apple for their great battery lives.)

The new iPhone still lacks all the other features, but hey, it comes in white! (They did, however, fix the flush headphone jack problem.)

The price comes in at $299. (The lame version is $199… seriously, 8 gigs!?). You get a [sarcasm]massive[/sarcasm] 16gigs of storage, and an iPhone with 3g. (You also get locked into iTunes whether you like it or not, biatch.) Catch is, in the US, the plans are $70 minimum/month for 2 years. Technically its $10 more than the original iPhone’s AT&T plan. Basically, in 3 months, you’d have paid enough carrier charges to buy another iPhone 3G 8gb.

So what’s in it for us? Well, for the United States, its a new iPhone with a lower barrier for entry. The GPS and the 3G definitely trumps the old unit and gets you accepted into the art kids, or the apple fanboys – if you so choose to join them. The iPhone is close enough to being a mainstream device that you can pass off as neither of the two stereotypes and still carry an iPhone. Just don’t start showing off the zooming in-and-out of pictures or tilting your screen — or you’ll turn into an apple.

For the Philippines, the iPhone still counts as a luxury item. Obtaining one usually goes through some underground channels, (because you can’t officially buy it there yet) which, in the Philippines, means right in the middle of any mall. iPhone’s are generally too expensive for the mass market so it only shows up in fancier malls and tech shops. That said, most iPhone owners are kids from rich families. (which are usually more chinese than filipino) iPhone’s are unlocked and run on local carriers. Unlocked means, well, it ain’t apple no ‘mo. So you’re jacked when it comes to new features from firmware updates.

With the iPhone 3G, Jobs has amazingly promised to add us for official support sometime this year. Amazing, since the rest of Asia got jacked. I guess we did something right. Gloria FTW?

What I wonder though is, if $200-300 is the price in the United States as a subsidized iPhone, what would it cost in the Philippines? I’d assume, if it were to be sold unlocked, it would cost somewhere north of $500. If it came in a subsidized plan, how much would it cost and how much would the plan jack you every month? Would the GPS work? Do we even have maps of Purok 12, Barangay Libre Lusong? Is there even a decent 3G coverage in the Philippines? Is there even a wi-fi hotspot that doesn’t cost a latte? One thing is for sure — we’ll be seeing a lot more iPhone’s in the Philippines soon. Whether or not I’ll be one of them, may be decided by the answers to the questions I’ve posted here. If not, then I’ll be sure to make iPhone users look silly with my laptop. Who needs a touchscreen when you have Gears of War in your laptop?





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