Getting an iPhone 4 for India?

This really is a guide for anyone living outside the five countries (US, France, Germany, UK and Japan) where the iPhone is currently available. But, since I’m based in Bombay it will be from my perspective.

In the past 48 hours I have fielded about 20 questions about the iPhone. So this guide is to summarize the challenges/hurdles of getting an iPhone to work in India. I also got sick of hearing the following from people:

– My phone guy said I can get the iPhone in US and he will unlock it. YOUR phone guy is probably some Nokia loving jackass working from Heera Panna
– Damn, the iPhone costs $200 in the US. FAIL…that’s if you sign-up for a 2 year contract with AT&T. Are you planning on living in the US for the next 24 months, didn’t think so.
– I heard the current price for the iPhone 4 in Bombay is $2000….yeah probably, if people are stupid enough to pay $1000 a sq/ft for sub-par home construction they will blow 2 square feet of their housing budget on a phone.

On with the info. Right now, you face 3 challenges and I’ll go through each one.

1. Getting the actual phone. In the US you can buy the phone from Apple, AT&T Wireless and a handful of big box retailers (read Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc…). The AT&T Wireless Stores sell a “no-commitment” iPhone 4 for $599 (16GB) and $699 (32GB). This means if you are an AT&T customer and want to buy the phone you can. No commitment does not mean unlocked, we’ll get to that in a minute.  All of this assumes there are ample iPhone’s in the supply chain.

2. You got the phone, now how do you unlock it?  The guys at iPhone Dev Team have come out with a jailbreak/unlock for the iOS 4 for the iPhone 3GS. BUT, they have not tested the jailbreak/unlock on the iPhone 4 hardware since it’s been out for only 24 hours. If they can’t issue a jailbreak/unlock right away, you will have yourself a very expensive paper weight.

3. If you have cleared the first 2 issues then the last one is easy.  The iPhone has a new micro SIM card format, which means you will need to cut your existing SIM card to the new format.  Luckily, there are tools that accomplish this and honestly you can even do it without a tool.

So what am I going to do? Funny you should ask. My wife landed into NY on the day of the launch and will spend the next 10 days there, so enough time to try and get an iPhone from AT&T Wireless and hopefully by then the iPhone Dev Team will issue a jailbreak/unlock.  But, I’m not holding my breath…I’m more positive of getting an officially unlocked and non-contract iPhone from the Hong Kong Apple Store and not deal with all this jailbreak/unlock crap I’ve had to “enjoy” with my first gen iPhone.

Update: Apple Store unlocked and non-contract prices:

France – 16GB @ €629 ($750), 32GB @ €739 ($885)
UK – 16GB @ £499 ($722), 32GB @ £599 ($866)

Update 2: Apple Stores in the US are selling without a contract for $599 (16GB) and $699 (32GB). Thanks @pjain

Union Carbide: Only in India

While the US is currently dealing with the largest oil spill in history courtesy of BP. The Union Carbide (UC) disaster from 1984 is truly an Indian story.  The accident took place in 1984 and estimates run as high as 25,000 people have died because of the gas leak and thousands more injured.

So why am I talking about something that took place 26 years ago? Because the Indian court system last week found 8 people guilty of “death by negligence”….26 years later.

Parts of the media want Warren Anderson, past CEO and Chairman of UC, to be extradited to India to face charges. I’m thinking why not focus on the people in India that are alive and that might be able to shed some light on what really happened.  This happened in 1984, almost 7 years before the Indian economic reforms began.  A company like UC could not exist back then without a boat load of people getting compensated…follow the money trail.

I’m really surprised no one is talking about Keshub Mahindra, past CEO and Chairman of UC India. He was one of the 8 people found guilty. I’m assuming no one is mentioning him because he is the Chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra a very large industrial group.

The media seems fixated on targeting people that can’t hurt them in the future. If they target Keshub Mahindra you can bet they won’t be getting any advertising dollars from Mahindra Motors, Reva, Kotak Mahindra, etc…truly Indian.

Creating Markets

I just came across a must read article for anyone interested in creating new markets. The article is about De Beers and how they used marketing to help create new markets for their diamonds. The article is even more intriguing when you realize it was written in 1982. Since then, the diamond markets have grown by leaps and bounds. De Beers is no longer the monopoly it once was, but that’s not the point.

The point is, very early on De Beers worked to create the “need” for diamonds. Almost every week there is some founder of a startup talking about creating a new market for your product. De Beers is the ultimate in making this happen…compressed carbon into cash.

Several interesting facts from the article:

– The slogan “A Diamond is Forever” was chosen because they wanted people to think of diamonds as family heirlooms and kept in safes as opposed to being sold on the open market

– In just 14 years, De Beers erased a 1,500 year tradition in Japan with the introduction of the diamond engagement ring

– The “Eternity Rings” campaign came about when Russians mines were producing smaller diamonds that were not high quality. So they took 20 of these diamonds and set them into a ring and called it the “Eternity Ring” – brilliant

I’m still waiting to hear from the team that created the “Two month salary” campaign for De Beers…they have some explaining to do.