Third time the charm?

Yesterday, at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled the latest version of the iPhone:

You should watch the design video if you haven’t already seen it…it’s quite the update that I of course am looking forward to getting.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, we still don’t know when the new model will be available for Canadians.

It comes out in the US (and a few other countries) on June 24 with 18 more countries by the end of July and to everyone by the end of September. Most people are expecting this means Canada will get it in July…but there hasn’t been anything specific that says or implies this.(Canada will get it in July – thanks Allen!) All the Canadian carriers have updated their websites with few details other than ‘coming soon’ or promises of more information in the ‘coming weeks’.

Considering this is the third model available in Canada, third year in a row, which is now supported and sold by at least 3 major cellular carriers, I’m left wondering if it’s going to be an upgrade nightmare like it has been in the past.

I know Apple controls the marketing and distribution very tightly so my belief is that the carriers really don’t know (or can’t say) anything until the last moment. AT&T has already begun notifying it’s customers via a text message that lets them know how much it will cost to upgrade to the newest model.

This is smart. It lets each customer know exactly, in advance, if they are eligible to upgrade and how much it will cost – including any additional fees. This isn’t a randomly received text that looks like a marketing pitch, the customer can request a confirmation via SMS by dialing a number and they’ll get a response immediately.

I just hope the Canadian carriers are paying attention and don’t let us down a third time.

My 3GS upgrade process was very frustrating thanks to conflicting account information (Rogers’ system said I was eligible for an upgrade when I called in but the dealer computer system said I wasn’t when I tried to pick up the device) that took many hours of wasted time to resolve followed by a similar process when my wife wanted to upgrade – both situations required intervention at a higher level with help from Rogers social media team whom I engaged via Twitter to get resolution. They were very helpful but it shouldn’t have had to get to that point…and I know I’m not the only one as many friends encountered the same situation and had to spend time wading through the system.

I’m also left wondering what will happen to the data plans in Canada. AT&T has been changing around their offerings (lowering the included allotment for minimal decrease in price). Will the Canadian providers do the same now that we could start chewing through those 6gb plans now that our phones can record bandwidth chomping HD video with a one click button to uploads to YouTube?

I guess we’ll see in the ‘coming weeks’.

Update (June 15, 2010): Looks like something I was hoping for (2nd last paragraph) has happened…Today, Apple updated the Canadian Online iPhone Store (and presumably other countries) to indicate that they will be selling fully unlocked iPhones if you order them from Apple directly:

Of course, these unlocked phones will come at a premium but for those that are contract adverse, travel internationally frequently or just want freedom to move between carriers this is very welcome news. No longer will the cat and mouse game for unlockers matter to people that buy their iPhones this way.

11 Comments

  1. John says:

    I should mention that I’m not expecting a free upgrade…the prices in the US are $199/16gb & $299/32gb for new activations with a $100 premium on top of those prices for those already in an existing contract which is similar to what we saw last time around with the 3GS.

  2. Lloyd Budd says:

    I’m also eagerly awaiting the upgrade details!

    Do you expect people to do HD over 3G? Video download is already pretty mediocre over 3G.

    • John says:

      Too early to say about HD over 3G (or 3 1/2G or whatever they are calling the ‘newer’ system). Considering we have tethering free in Canada but AT&T is charging $20/month for it in the US, we may even get 3G FaceTime (not in love with that name) before them…we likely have the network capacity to support it to, unlike AT&T.

  3. Tyler Ingram says:

    I’ll be upgrading to the new one (if Rogers lets me). Being on a 3G iPhone, the multitask ability of the new iOS won’t work for me. Wonder how much resources it uses, I didn’t think the specs between the 3G and 3Gs were that much different.

    • John says:

      The processor was considerably faster between the two so I’d disagree with you on that point, Tyler. It was a big jump in performance.

      Don’t forget, multitasking support has to be built into the app (so a lot of updates will be happening) otherwise the multitasking functions more like alt-tab as an app switcher.

  4. Lloyd Budd says:

    Oh, Rogers/Fido network is due for an improvement? Is the iPhone 4 necessary to take advantage of it?

    When are apps not updating frequently ;-) (Makes me buggy when they change the icon, and I can no longer find the app.)

  5. Tawcan says:

    Am I the only one still using a non-smart phone dated circa 2005? :p

    I’m really annoyed at the Canadian carriers as well. Hopefully they’ll release more info on how much the phones will cost and the different data plan structures. For some reason I don’t see the price of the data plan coming down.

    @Lloyd – Roger, Fido, and Telus all have HSPA network. However iPhone4 is only HSPA, 7.2 Mbps down, 5.2 Mbps up capable so your speed is capped by the iPhone hardware. HSPA network does mean there will be more resources out there to allocate end users.

    • John says:

      I don’t necessarily see the data plan costs coming down…I just see the same plan come with less data for new contracts with many of us clutching onto our 6gb plans as we start actually consuming a considerable chunk of it.

  6. Lloyd Budd says:

    Thanks Tawcan for the info!

  7. Allen Pike says:

    During the Keynote, Steve said Canada would be in the July cohort.

  8. Tawcan says:

    @John… yup I definitely see that happen. Less data for the same amount of monthly cost, eventhough it costs the carriers WAY less money per data now they’ve upgraded the network to HSPA .

%d bloggers like this: