A Plea to Apple

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 01 Mar 2009
How Apple sees Africa
How Apple sees Africa


Last year I bought a iPhone 3G the day it was released in South Africa. It is truly one of the greatest computing devices I have ever used and I am very happy with it. But over time certain things are starting to bother me about the way Apple does its business.

South Africans are used to high bandwidth charges - we are pretty used to being charged by the megabyte for data. That is why high bandwidth users buy additional data bundle on contracts. The last three Nokias I have owned (the first one being SIX years back) have been able to tether with my laptop by USB or Bluetooth as a modem. The iPhone does not.

Now I realize that there is a iPhone Modem app available if you jailbreak the device, which I have been using up to now. I am well aware that the iPhone is perfectly capable of doing tethering and it is Apple's choice to not make it available to users. Apple has deals with overseas networks like AT&T who sell their iPhone contracts with unlimited data. Now the networks capable of selling these type of bundles are only a handful. In South Africa we get 250meg on a iPhone contract. Thats it. And do not think you save money or get that 250meg for a low price - no, it has no value prospects. It costs about the same whether you buy that 250meg seperately on a different contract.

For this very reason, SA consumers (and I am sure many other countries abroad) should have the freedom to get a tethering application which gives us the ability to connect to a laptop.

I understand that the iPhone's success is partly down to AT&T's willingness to give the platform a chance when no one else would. Now that it has paid off, and it is still the exclusive iPhone distributor in the US, maybe Apple should remove their fingers and start giving some thought to consumers in other countries.

Give consumers in other countries a simple application that enables tethering. If it such a issue in the US, prevent US consumers from getting a copy of this application. Every country that doesnt have unlimited data deserves this simple respect, from a country we all supposedly respect.

How things have changed - In a way Apple is becoming that evil monolith Microsoft always was.

(But I would rather chew off my own arm than use a Windows Mobile based phone again)


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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.