There has been a lot of talk and speculation about the rumoured 3G iPhone as well as when it will launch in Canada since the ‘if’ part has been established (‘later this year’) and how much the data plan might cost to Canadians. I figured I’d throw my thoughts out there and see how close I get it later.
Prediction #1: Details about the iPhone release in Canada will be announced on June 9th
Steve Jobs himself will announce them during the WWDC Keynote as he reveals the next iteration of the iPhone (version 2.0/3G/whatever) and details the rollout of the iPhone to a number of other countries/carriers that also had similarly worded (brief) press releases regarding the iPhone coming out “later this year”.
It’s interesting to note that a number of ‘soon-to-be-carrying-iPhone’ countries have been mentioned previously in various places like Apple’s shareholder meetings well in advance of their official rollout – except for Canada.
Prediction #2: Rogers will offer the 3G iPhone to Canadians.
It makes sense that Rogers would want to negate the thousands of unlocked iPhones already in Canada by selling the latest version. This would mean that all current iPhones (mine included) would still work but would potentially be locked out of any sweet data deal (more on that in a second) since the 1st gen iPhone wasn’t offered by Rogers.
Prediction #3: there will be a decent iPhone data plan for Canadians.
There has been a lot of talk about IMEI tracking, user agent string logging and other forms of identifying users on the Rogers network in order to charge them for using data via 3rd party applications and non-sanctioned websites. I have a hard time believing Apple would allow Rogers to sell the iPhone without some kind of decent data plan….perhaps not quite as generous as the AT&T plan ($20/month all you can eat data) but even that could change down south with the release of the SDK built 3rd party apps via the iTunes App Store that will also be unveiled at WWDC. The bottomline is that Rogers will have to offer a compelling data plan, targeted at consumers, not businessmen, if they hope to sell a decent number of these phones. Canada is a relatively small market for high(er) end phones in the first place, so it has to be decent to get any kind of penetration with the Facebook generation. Just look at how many non-businessman currently have Blackberry Pearls – mostly for email and Facebook.
Prediction #4: the Canadian iPhone will sell for no more than $399 with a two year contract and be available before the end of the summer, if not immediately.
They will make the iPhone available very quickly in order to not slow down sales. Dragging out the release would only cause people to hold off on new activations or give competitors a chance to steal potentials away from Rogers with sweet deals. Despite it being Rogers modus operandi to do everything with a 3 year contract these days, because of the way Apple will require them to sell the iPhones, there won’t be a requirement for a 3 year deal, a 2 year deal will be required. There has been a lot of rumours that AT&T will be offering the iPhone for $199 with a 2 year contract once the 3G version comes out so I could see Rogers doing something similar but with a higher markup than AT&T. It just really depends on what the 3G version looks like from a specs standpoint and what it offers above and beyond the 1st gen model.
I’m still not convinced that 3G is all that great having used Edge in a lot of places, it’s not that bad for many things you’d want to do on the iPhone and would rather have slower internet speeds than a battery-killing 3G speed any day. I still don’t believe that videophone capabilities will really matter that much to most people. I personally don’t know anybody that either has a video capable phone or would even use that feature if they did. Streaming video is another story completely and could be a more compelling reason for 3G.
Prediction #5: I could be completely wrong about all of this.
One of the fun things about Apple announcements is that more often than not, they find a way to make people that predict what they are going to announce look foolish. They do it again and again.
So I’m not putting any money on my predictions. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on June 9th.