The iPhone in Canada: three answers

In regards to the iPhone in Canada nothing has been announced, nothing has been said publically by either Apple, Apple Canada or any Canadian cellular carrier.  A lot of Rogers and Fido dealers are claiming that they have inside information, but until Apple says something publically it's all just speculation.

What follows are three common questions that I've been asked since the iPhone's announcement and my best answers.  I'll post updates if I hear anything different, but for now this is the best information you're going to get because anyone who might actually know anything will have signed a non-disclosure contract and won't be able to say anything. 

These answers are based on my ten + years of experiance in the Canadian cellular industry and having owned an Apple Computer since the Apple IIe, so I'm familiar both with how the Canadian carriers work and how Apple works.

1) When is it coming to Canada and whose going to be selling it?

The US release date is for June of this year.  Most cell phones come to Canada shortly after their US release if they're in high demand, as the Motorola Rokr the last Apple related phone did.  So the earliest it would in Canada is June, if they did a simultanous release on both sides of the border.  Most likely it'll be a few months afterwards, though ideally before it's 2008 Asia / Europe release.

Since it's a GSM phone it'll be carried in Canada either by Rogers or Fido.  Nothing is set in stone but I would think that it'll end up being a Rogers phone.  It will not be Telus or Bell since they both run on a CDMA network.  My guess is that it won't be Fido since they tend to go towards cheap youth orientated phones, and avoid data devices and smart phones.  Fido is owned by Rogers.

2) Can we get the phone sooner?

Probably.  It sounds like the iPhone will be designed to work only with the US carrier Cingular when it first hits the market in June, thus it will be "locked" to Cingular.  Most phones though can be unlocked, and so it's likely that unlocked iPhones will be showing up on eBay a few days after they hit the US market.  If they're unlocked they can be used on either Rogers or Fido.

The one drawback is that the visual voicemail [ap] will for sure not work with phones imported from the US, and there will be a lot of configuration to do in order to set up things like the data options to use the Rogers or Fido data networks.  If the Canada and US release dates aren't too far apart I'm not even going to bother trying to get one ealier through eBay, because I'd rather one that's configured specifically for the network I'm actually going to be using it on.

3) How much is the iPhone going to cost?

The American prices on a two year contract from Cingular are $499 for the 4 gig and $599 for the 8 gig phones.  Depending on how strong the Canadian dollar is in the summer I'd guess that the prices will be very similiar on a three year contract through Rogers.  So the guess would be probably $499 and $599 on a 3 year term, or slightly higher.

Though monthly price plans are far cheaper in the US hardware generally is within about $50 of Canadian pricing.  So don't expect the iPhone to be $800 or something crazy once a carrier adds its subsudies.  However that's still going to make it the most expensive phone on the market in Canada right now.

I'll be trying to answer more questions as they come up, and if you have any specific ones you can email me.  Also I'll be blogging about my thoughts on the iPhone in the next day or so, because I've got lots to talk about.