Apple iPhone arrives

One of the most hyped technology product launches ever must be that of Apple’s iPhone, which finally hit the shelves in the US on 29 June.

The iPhone works as a phone, an iPod to listen to music and watch videos, and a device that allows you to connect to the Internet either through a Wi-Fi connection or through the cellphone network, with EDGE technology. Oh, and they also have 2Mb digital cameras built-into them.

They come with the Safari web browser, an internet mail client, a YouTube video viewer, and you can import your calendar contact details from your PC, whether it’s a PC or Macintosh.

There is a choice of iPhone models, with 4Gb and 8Gb memories, and they have a gorgeous big colour touch-screen which you use to control the phone and view whatever it is that you’re looking at.

They are not the first phones to dispense with a keypad but I reckon that they will set the trend and I wouldn’t be surprised if you battle in the future to find a phone with one. By the bye, has anyone else noticed that phone keypads are getting smaller?

I’m in no way excited by the thought of owning an iPhone but they look like good handsets and I would certainly consider getting one when, at last, they arrive on our shores.

Many people were feverishly excited by the forthcoming launch. The Internet was humming with speculation about what the phones would be like and some were so keen to get their hands on one that they starting queuing outside Apple and AT&T stores on the Monday before the launch.

Some advertised that they would, for $150-$200, reserve you a place in the queue by standing there all day and then giving up their place to you when you arrived, shortly before the shop opened for business. One US bookmaker was taking bets at 20-1 that someone would get trampled in the melee when the things first went on sale.

Most people in the queues were apparently there for their own selfish reasons, i.e. to buy iPhones for their own use or to sell for a profit. Elsewhere were 80 volunteers from an Aids Charity. who stood in line to publicise their work and to get an iPhone to resell for their funds.

Only hours after they went on sale, pictures of iPhones being torn apart were posted on two websites to answer the question that sooner or later occurs to any technology geek; ‘I wonder what’s inside it?’ Not long after that, third party accessories were starting to arrive including a snazzy mahogany cover.

Apple iPhones are on sale with the 4GB model at $499 and the 8GB at $100 more which, by my calculations works out to just over R4000. In addition to the purchase price of the phone, you have to enter into a contract with AT&T with the minimum plan costing $59.99 per month.
That works out to about R417 per month but it isn’t as bad as it sounds because you get 450 minutes of talk time, 200 SMS messages and unlimited downloading of e-mail and web pages. Nothing is certain in this life, but I’d be most surprised if the South African consumer ever gets an offer that generous.

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