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Published on September 14th, 2008 | by Babar Bhatti


iPhone in Pakistan – 2008 Update

This post is second in a series about iphone and Pakistan. The 3G version of iPhone was introduced this year in July. Despite the high price and software issues, popularity of iPhone has been growing everywhere including Pakistan. To date about 75 countries have been announced for this international launch but Pakistan is still not the official list. But given the talent Pakistanis have in reverse engineering and adapting gadgets to their need, who needs an official provider?

I believe that iPhone has all that it takes to be one of the most popular phones in Pakistan: its stylish, feature-rich and a status symbol. In a short while iPhone has become the phone of choice for the tech celebrities of Pakistan. It is also quite popular with Pakistanis abroad as well. Actually iPhone is one of the most requested gift item from Pakistan!

I have been testing the 3G iPhone for a few months and I love it, despite a few issues. I couldn’t help comparing it with Blackberry pearl and other regular phones. But a simple comparison is not possible because iphone packs so much more than the so-called smart phones. Now it does not mean that it is beyond criticism – the 3G iPhone has had its share of software bugs and network issues, many of which have been fixed recently.

First and foremost – iPhone is an eye candy. Browsing the web on iPhone is a treat and has made mobile web enjoyable. The visual elements, its ability to render images and graphics is superior than any other device. I find myself browsing the web quite a lot with the iPhone. Fans of iPod will love it too as it packs the popular audio features and capabilities in one sleek gadget. If you are all about email, many consider Blackberry to be much better but the new push capabilities of iPhone are quite appealing. The touch interface is intuitive and easy. If you make quite a lot of calls then beware – the touch key pad may or may not be your thing. Personally, I prefer the physical keyboard, at least when using the phone while driving.

The GPS and google map works quite well. There are many interesting new applications available which utilize GPS, such as iPray with Qibla Finder. This brings another interesting point: the very profitable Apple Store business model, which has resulted in huge number of interesting applications (some are free) available for download. Both the developers and Apple benefit from this approach.

Here are some suggestions. In case you have the new 3G iPhone, get the latest software fixes released by Apple (2.1 was released on Sep 12) which improves battery life and call quality and fixed many bugs.

If you have the original iPhone, no worries – it is good enough for for most purposes. If you want to take the phone from US/EU to Pakistan, you are better off with the non-3G edition as 3G is non-existent in Pakistan. For US residents note that depending on your location, you may be on EDGE as 3G coverage is still limited and ATT network is mediocre. The email (push, support for exchange) of the new iPhone allows it to be easily adopted by professionals and companies.

Regardless of the bugs and complaints from die-hard Nokia and Blackberry fans, the iPhone is selling very well and it has some impressive and attractive features. Apple has shaken up the mobile monopolies of carriers and handset makers. It even forced Nokia to open up its platform and Google is under pressure to come up with a better product and platform. Competitors like Samsung, LG and HTC are working hard to come up with their versions of “touch” phones and this should mean more choices for consumers.

For a list of local retailers and information about iPhone, see this post from TechLahore. Images are from Apple web site.

About the Author

Founder and Editor of TelecomPk.net

9 Responses to iPhone in Pakistan – 2008 Update

  1. mahmut says:

    IKabe which shows the direction to kaaba is for free now. The Globe shows the path to Mekka. It includes three applikation in one. A Sun Kompas, a globe viewer and a distance tool. It is 100% developed from a muslim. You know, an attestor can only a beliver.

    Here is the Link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=303864634&mt=8

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  3. abdul basit says:


    just to share information that Alcatel mobiles phones launch in pakistan


    Latest model v770 is Available in market.

  4. Sameed says:

    do you know where i can get turbosim in karachi for 3g, a friend has a 3g and wants to unlock it

  5. Sameed says:

    the iphone can provide a rather large array of softwares, hundreds of free apps become available if you jailbreak it and install installer or cydia

  6. Babar Bhatti says:

    Ammar – Nokia and RIM have great products as well and this review is not meant to take anything away from their phones. However I believe that iPhone has more innovative features and a better model for distributing interesting applications. In the US, the phone companies used to have a strong hold on how phones got sold and what applications could be loaded on the phones. It stifled innovation and competition and frustrated consumers. Apple has changed that. Pakistan never had that issue.

    Faried has made very good points. The increased competition from Google’s Android will be another step towards more choice and more competition. People buy and use what they like. In the end, the market will speak for itself and decide the winner and loser.

  7. Faried Nawaz says:

    “its baffling how you can compare it to smartphones as iphone doesnt have a open source OS thus it has no applications except the useless ones given by apple.”

    An open source OS isn’t a requirement for a smartphone. Even when you can write apps with J2ME, or Symbian’s SDKs, your apps may still be restricted if they’re not signed. The notifications API on the Blackberry, for example, requires a signature.

    I’m guessing that there are more useful apps (for free!) on the App Store than there are apps for series 60 phones. Also, you *can* deploy iPhone/iPod Touch apps to the devices without jailbreaking them or going through the App Store; you just need your device’s UDID and a developer willing to give you the app for, say, beta-testing.

    “the fact that you blatantly say it shook up even the likes of nokia, please can you confirm the source”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/10/technology/10nokia.html?_r=1&oref=slogin says: “Nokia views Apple as the first credible entrant into its market in years”, according to Nokia’s CEO. The article has more details.

    Nokia is losing marketshare in the States (sales were up globally for 2007q4, but down in the States; overall down 23% in the States for all of 2007), but there are likely reasons other than the iPhone for that.

  8. ammar says:

    i’m sorry but your review is quite laughable to say the least. its baffling how you can compare it to smartphones as iphone doesnt have a open source OS thus it has no applications except the useless ones given by apple.
    the fact that you blatantly say it shook up even the likes of nokia, please can you confirm the source, because last i checked apple has less than 1/4th the market of nokia, and this is only for USA.
    and you say it forced nokia to open up its platform? please enlighten me as to when they had a closed platform?
    people love the iphone for its fancy features and the ‘bling’ factor it has. they fall for its looks and then they come up with reviews like this making iphone sound like the holy grail of cell phones.
    clearly you’ve not used the N95-8GB and samsung i900

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