Monday, September 01, 2008

Apple "3G" iPhone arrives in Prague ...

Well, it has been a bit more than a week since the Apple "3G" iPhone hit the market here in Prague. People with who had very little idea of what an iPhone was 1 month ago, are now pounding their greasy fingers on the iPhones screen, thanks to the relatively low cost no thanks to carrier subsidies. Nobody quite knows what to do with it, however. With a touch of humor, my own carrier, Vodafone, has called friends offering the "3G" iPhone (these friends already having the initial version of iPhone) and that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. My friend's conversation went something like this:

Vodafone: Hello! We now sell the Apple 3G iPhone, it's the greatest phone on the planet, don't you want to sign up for a contract and get it?

Friend: Why would I want the 3G iPhone, you guys don't offer 3G in the CZ.

Vodafone: Hmmm, but it has GPS now too!

Friend: Can you download the maps locally onto your iPhone?

Vodafone: Yes

Friend: Have you ever played with an iPhone?

Vodafone: Yes, we have one here.

Friend: Go play with it again and call me back when you know the answer to th question.

Obviously, not all customers have a clue. Most will just say "ok, let's do it" -- the marketing is silly. Signs for the iPhone are everywhere, but nobody really knows why it's so good (functionality wise) ... it's call comical really. I have been lectured by another colleague that I should get it becaues it has GPS. When I state I've had GPS functionality for more than a year with my stale Nokia N95, they're really not sure what to say after that (besides I can listen to music on it -- which I guess I can, but I can on my N95 too ... but I prefer my iPod Nano).

At any rate -- I noticed that previous iPhone users were mostly happy about the fact that they can configure their iPhones to access the companies Exchange environment -- this feature alone seems to be the only reason most previous iPhone users are bragging about the new iPhone. This definately has been a change agent -- those folks who have iPhones and had to carry Blackberries for corporate email have finally "converged" -- which is something that Apple has been good at doing, and if they can continue, they're going to give Blackberry hell.

Now where is the Nokia N96 so I can say I have HD TV abilities (but of course, my carrier won't support that, just like it doesn't support 3G) on my phone. I need a "notch up" in the cool department. :P


gliderguider said...

Of course the Exchange compatibility is also available for the original iPhone with a free software update.

Also, even though I've owned a GPS since 1995, I don't have much use for a GPS that only works when (as you point out) you have cell reception to get the appropriate map. When I'm using a GPS in the mountains I don't *have* cell reception. (This doesn't necessarily apply to 3rd party programs that use the GPS though.)

So I'll be sticking with my old model for a while.

David Stennett said...

Oh, yeah, good point -- forgot the older iPhone has the Exchange capabilities, too -- just one less reason to buy a new 3G iPhone unless you really have 3G on your carrier's network.

As for the GPS stuff -- yes, having maps locally is always better. I guess TomTom is making something for the iPhone, so I've been told, so you should be ok on the map front once that happens. Google Maps are nice (and I like the GSM triangluation is uses, too, when available), but I spent a fortune when roaming on vacation to use maps -- I won't be doing that again.

gliderguider said...

I don't know what the charges are in the Czech Republic. Here in New Zealand Vodafone gives 250 MB with even the NZ$40/month (EUR 19) iPhone plan (which only has 20 voice minutes included). That's more than almost every iPhone user uses in the USA, where the plans are unlimited.

I use mine on prepay, without a data plan. In July Vodafone decreased the price for data with no plan from NZ$0.01 per KB ($10/MB) to $0.005 per KB for less than 200 KB in a day, then $1 fixed price for 200 KB to 10 MB in a day, and then $1 per MB after that. If you use 10 MB that's one hundred times cheaper than before.

I've just been away on a family ski weekend. I used my iPhone extensively for checking mail, maps, skifield conditions etc. And showing anyone who seemed interested. I used a total of about 10 MB over two days, for a total cost of less than one Euro, which seems very reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

I wondering iPhone 3G as iPod Touch+GPS with able to make a call :). If Apple suggest me iPod with GPS and BT connection with a mobile for 3G it'll enough for me.
Actually Russia have to became "iPhone country" next 2 month, so I'll try it for sure. I have ordered old iPhone to my friend in Seattle (Misha :)) at begin of the summer, but ones out of stock at this time. So I save a bit money.
The worst thing iPhone doesn't have off-line Russia GPS map soft at the time, so i need to use the Google service and hope GPRS (3G) is at almost Russia fields :).


David Stennett said...

Charges in the CZ aren't expensive at all ... it's the charges Roaming outside of the Czech Republic that require you to sell your first born and refinance your house to pay ... they're expensive, even if using the same vendor (ie... Vodafone in Germany from Vodafone Czech Republic).

In the CZ, they have tiered pricing -- at certain stages (5mb, 10mb, 20mb), you pay about 5 dollars per stage -- until you hit over 20mb -- and then anything after stops at around 900 czk (about 50 USD, 35 EUR) for unlimited within the CZ.

Dima, yeap, no maps offline is a bummer, but I guess TomTom is working on fixing that. You should be in GPS/Map heaven offline once TomTom does this bit.

Anonymous said...

I got it :)
Put Google maps of Moscow and Kazan in cash and have off-line GPS maps.


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