iPhone in Canada: The Waiting Game

iPhone vs iPhoneTechvibes writer Warren Frey contributes an article to Mac|Life on the iPhone in Canada, or rather, the lack of iPhone in Canada. Almost a year after it’s initial release, there as still been no official word on Canadian availability. That hasn’t stopped gadget lusting canucks from driving across the border, buying one, and applying a software unlock of medium difficulty. For the less brave or more busy, unlocked iPhones can be found on internet classifieds at marked up prices.

The most probable reason for the delay is an ongoing trademark dispute between Apple and Toronto-based Comwave Telecom. Comwave had been using the term for their iPhone Mobile Wifi phone, a neat technology but no Star Trek-like object of geek dreams. Interestingly, Comwave’s page lists their “iPhone” as sold out; perhaps an indication that it will be phased out.

The Canadian Trade-marks Database record for Apple’s application lists the status as “opposed”, reflecting Comwave’s claim. The record shows that the application was originally approved in April 2005, before an opposition was filed in August 2005. However, the record also shows a last updated date of April 15, 2008, suggesting that there is some current activity on the matter.

Another possible cause for the iPhone’s delay is Rogers. Introducing the iPhone might require them to lower their mobile data rates down significantly, a move they may be reluctant to make. Whereas in the US, $20 a month buys you unlimited data, Rogers asks $65 a month for 1 GB of data. It’s well known that the state of wireless in Canada sucks, and the Canadian wireless cartel seems content to drag its knuckles on innovation while wallpapering our train stations in advertising.

Warren, by the way, enjoys his iPhone very much.