Sunday, 24 August, 2008

iPhone in India - first look

The new iPhone 3G has finally been launched in India. I got an SMS from Vodafone asking me to pay Rs 10,000 (US $ 232) as an advance at any Vodafone store. In a few days I would be informed when and where to collect the iPhone.

The cost will be Rs 31,000 (US$ 720) for the 8 Gb model and Rs 36,000 (US$ 837) for the 16 Gb model. Many have complained that this is excessive and they are comparing it to the Rs. 8,600 (US$ 199) price overseas. But that's misleading.

The iPhone 3G will also be available at other stores and Apple stores in India. I want to Croma at Juhu and checked out the iPhone. Here its available for Rs.29,800 (US$ 693) for the 8Gb and Rs 34,500 (US$802) for the 16 Gb.

I stopped and took a look. I asked the the sales person about the plans and whether I would have to get a new connection. he told me I could use my existing Vodafone post-paid card with the new iPhone but I would have to take a new 'package'. But I explained I already had one. Then in that case he said I would have to get a data package.

On whether my number would remain the same he said it would. But then, what would happen to the SIM card inside the iPhone? I asked, and he had no idea. And supposing I popped in y SIM card into the iPhone would it work right away? He said sure I needed to send an SMS.

And what if I had a BPL or an Idea SIM card? He said that would work too. He sid sure it would. Very strange. If this salesman is to be believed, then Apple is officially selling an unlocked iPhone in India. No need to sign up with any particular mobile service.

I don't believe it. I think the salesman was probably living somewhere in the jungles when the iPhone was released last year and all the hoopla about locking/unlocking happened over the past year or so. So he's completely unaware.

The iPhone itself what does it feel like? I held it in my hand. Maybe I was imagining it but it seemed lighter. The back is black and plastic not silver aluminium like the old iPhone. The headphone socket is not recessed so any headphone will work. The silend button is sl=ilver and flatter. And, the sofware is slightly different than the 1.x versions. Apart from these, externally at least, the iPhone 3G is not radicaly different.

Will I rush oiut and buy one? I don't think so. This Rs 30,000 price is a bit much for me. So I'm going to pass on the iPhone 3G for the moment till 3G services start in India.

And for existing iPhone owners, what happens to their iPhone? Does it get a warranty in India now? Will Apple India service the old 'unofficial' iPhone? What happens if an American with a 'legal' iPhone comes to India and has some trouble with it. Will the Apple Authorised Service Centre in India fix it?

Lots of questions still. In the weeks to come we'll have answers, I'm sure.


  1. thatdannyguy12:35 PM

    iPhone has a 3G hardware glitch .. which is a major one and apple are getting sued for it in US .. iPhone has 10 3G antennas and they figured it out way too late that these causes internal interferences

    and since india does not have 3G yet, iPhones with this hardware glitch gets delivered to the indian dumping ground i.e.into your indian pocket
    so dont buy it

  2. There is no substance in the 'Apple getting sued' comment. Some people have complained about 3G performance in the iPhone, and I believe there's a software fix.

    3G performance depends on a lot of factors. I have a US pre-paid card and used it for 3G services on a trip there recently. The performance was spotty at best in some areas.

    And this was on a Sony phone. months before the iPhone 3G launch.



Place your comment on what I have written here. If you want to ask a a question or expect a response from me consider mailing me. My address is linked in the margin.

If its advice for a commercial project, I may expect to be compensated for a response.