I want to buy an iPhone 5, but I can't, and that makes me mad.
I've got my credit card ready to swipe/insert/key into any web page that will accept it in exchange for a new shiny 4" sliver of awesomeness, but it's looking increasingly likely that I won't be able to.
And it's not like I didn't try: I stayed up until 00.01 last Friday morning just in case Apple took pre-orders on their website a week before the NZ launch date, but the only pre-orders were with Vodafone, and they came attached to hideously over-priced 24 month contracts.
"No problem", I thought, I'll just queue up like everyone else. I've never experienced an Apple product launch queue-athon, and thought it might be kind of fun, so I set about clearing my calendar for either late Thursday, or early Friday.
I should point out that my circumstances are not exactly typical - my employer pays my phone contract, and I provide the phone, which means a non contract phone is a must. That being said, I'm guessing that there must be a fair few other Kiwis out there who don't want to commit to contracts, so I'm sure I'm not alone in my quest.
As the week progressed, a Telecom pre-sale popped up (also requiring a 2 year contract), and then today there were unconfirmed, but totally believable rumours that JB-Hifi and Yoobee will also require a contract when selling iPhone 5.
Given the fact that there is obviously limited initial stock, carriers appear to be supplying the retailers, and that fact that the "Coming Soon" banner on the Apple website steadfastly refuses to morph into a "Buy Now" link this does rather leave me devoid of options.
I'm sure Apple's online store will start taking orders on Friday, but who knows what the lead time will be - 2 weeks? 4 weeks? At this stage it makes no difference, I wanted to be part of launch day hullabaloo, but the money grabbing carriers are holding the entire New Zealand inventory of iPhone 5 hostage - pay their monthly ransom, or it's an SG3 for you Sonny Jim.
Out of interest I decided to compare the "entry level" cost of owning and operating an iPhone 5 in NZ by comparing the cheapest 24 month contract rates for each carrier to buying the phone outright and using prepay credit.
The results were quite startling:
|Telecom Prepay Bundle||60||5000||500MB||$1049||$19||$1505|
|Telecom On Account||150||600||500MB||$929*||$39||$1865|
|Vodafone Smart Data 80||200||2500||1GB||$649||$80||$2569|
*Telecom list an RRP of $1029, whereas Vodafone say the RRP is $1049.
Obviously the plans are all quite different, and everyone has different needs, but for some bizarre reason Vodafone think that they can justify charging $1000 more than a perfectly adequate pre-pay bundle for the privilege of owning and operating an iPhone 5 in New Zealand.
I'm sure they'll say that they know how much data/talk time the average iPhone owner uses, but they don't even give the consumer a choice. Sorry, that's not entirely true, if you buy an Android phone (My commiserations), you get to choose a $45 smart plan, which is odd, because last time I checked they were about as capable of calling/texting/surfing the web as an iPhone - go figure.
I don't have the luxury of choice this Friday, but you do New Zealand - you could go forth, queue, and revel in being one of the chosen few to get your hands on the first batch, or you could buy your iPhone 5 online, wait 3 weeks, stick it it the carriers, and save your ransom to pay for that iPhone 5S you won't be able to resist next year.