BitDepth 644 - September 09

Ode to the iPhone. Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...
iPhone initiation

The App Store, accessible from the built in browser in Apple's iTunes software, offers a wide range of recently created applications for iPhone users.

With its newest software update for the iPhone, Apple has taken its mobile into a new phase of its development. The product had already cultivated a strong user base on the strength of its Mac OS X based interface, a fluid mix of icons and touchscreen based navigation that's surprisingly easy to master.
The face of the phone is a slab of glass backed by brushed aluminium, an obsidian slate with just a single button at bottom centre. 

There are three other buttons tucked away on the edges of the device, an on button on the top edge, a volume rocker on the left side and a ringtone silencer just above it.
It's undeniably hefty for a phone, but astonishingly small for a device that's just a hair's breadth away from being a full fledged computer. 

Turn on the phone and you're presented with a screen full of bright icons; each of which takes you to software designed to handle one aspect of the phone's capabilities.
The phone has become quite popular with local smartphone users, particularly with those who want to make the best use of their data plans and feel the need for an alternative to the Blackberry.

Popular, pretty
I've seen iPhones on the hips and in the handbags of a surprising number of local executives and even on the desk of a TSTT manager who shall remain nameless.
In February, Net Applications, which surveys Internet use, found that iPhone based Internet use in Trinidad and Tobago (compared with other methods of accessing the Internet) placed the country third among nations which are not officially part of Apple's licensing plan, behind Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
That rating has slipped recently down to 16th place as other countries continue to adopt the mobile phone, regardless of whether Apple wants them to.

Because WiFi access on the iPhone is a matter of just flipping a software switch, you can clear e-mail and browse the web without having a data plan at all if there's a WiFi transmitter around.
With its version 2 update to the iPhone OS, Apple has kicked down the development door it kept closed to third party coders until just a few months ago, prompting a rush to create applications that hasn't been seen on a handheld device since Palm issued its first software development kit.

There are now hundreds of tiny applications available on the App Store; a subsection of the iTunes store accessible from any installed copy of the company's free music player and synchronisation software.

The iPhone in T&T
An iPhone doesn't work out of the box in this country. It's SIM locked to the AT&T network in the US as part of that company's deal with Apple, though carriers in other countries have struck their own deals with the iPhone's creator. Getting an iPhone has also become a little more complicated with the subtle change in the relationship between the two companies when the iPhone 3G was released.

When the iPhone was introduced a year ago in the US, it was very much Apple's product on AT&T's network. Sold in both Apple Stores and AT&T outlets, buying and activation were two separate actions. You bought the phone, took it home and activated it online using Apple's iTunes software. 
The newest model, the iPhone 3G, changes that system. Now you buy a cheaper phone, one heavily subsidised by AT&T, but you must activate it with a two-year plan on the spot. It's now AT&T's iPhone and the phone company wants to keep calls on the iPhone on its network.

That new wrinkle makes breaking the AT&T link to the iPhone a bit more complicated and the original iPhone becomes a more attractive proposition for non-US use at exactly the time that first generation users are getting rid of their early models.
For Trinidad and Tobago users, the changes between the phones are negligible. The 3G in the new iPhone's name refers to technologies such as UTMS and HSDPA which are not currently available in Trinidad and Tobago, so the first iPhone is just as capable here as the updated model.

Part 1 in a series about using the iPhone in Trinidad and Tobago.
Part 2 is
Part 3 is
blog comments powered by Disqus