On why the iPhone isn’t ready for the Malaysian market

I have lamented before, that Apple should sell the device, in more markets, especially here in Malaysia. I experimented with grabbing one here, and it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I can only sing praises for iWorld’s customer service, and quick delivery, and more.

But I think I’ve come to a realisation as to why the iPhone 3G is not ready for the Malaysian market yet, despite it being a groundbreaking device. So assuming you’re pining for one, you might want to think again, and settle for what is available in the market currently.

  1. The camera is nothing to shout about – who cares for a 2MP camera, with no flash, no video recording by default. The quality is passable, but no different from my old Nokia E61i. I’d have expected a lot more from Apple, clearly.
  2. No Multimedia Messaging (MMS) – don’t you think this is short-sighted? You’ve snapped a nice photo, and now you want to share it, and your only method to do it, is via email? Especially when the cost of MMS is a lot less than the cost of sending one email – unless you have an unlimited data plan, and that comes at around RM99/month via Maxis.
  3. No video calling – the whole idea of a 3G network, is that you have a lot more bandwidth to use, and you would make video calls. In fact, Maxis doesn’t charge you any more to make a video call, than they charge you to make a voice call. Is this forward thinking? I believe so. But with the iPhone 3G, you cannot make a video call, which seems kind of daft. Its useful, when you’re out shopping, or just wanting to see what the other person looks like…

So, unless you’ve got an unlimited data plan (they don’t come cheaply), you’ll find the iPhone 3G lacking. In fact, even with an unlimited data plan, its kind of lacking, in comparison to what you can get from Nokia and other providers. Apparently, not only I think the iPhone 3G is semi-daft – APC magazine came out with ten reasons too (though to be fair, cut&paste works now, I believe).

And until the iTunes Music Store becomes available, I don’t see it being too useful. In fact, I see a lot of iPhone’s being used these days, but I can assure you the use of the AppStore is limited – so, even if I were planning to develop applications for the local market, I would think again.

On local developers
I would however like to highlight that there are local iPhone/iPod Touch application developers. Take a look a ApptivityLab with their mistletoe application, as well as the wabbit studio’s shizi app, that is a Chinese & Hong Kong units translator.

I always remember writing units translators when I first learn a new language. Its one of those exercises that you do, similar to Hello World.

At some stage, it would be great if there were local applications, that provided more integration with the A-GPS, and more. I have plenty of ideas, but its a chicken and egg situation – I’ll have to wait for Apple to bring the device here. But Apple won’t – because the device is lacking. So maybe, we’ll see something new at WWDC 2009? I doubt it, but I have hope. Why? Because Apple designs for the American market largely, and the American cell networks, are just not nearly as advanced as those, outside America.

As an aside… I’m surprised it was ready for the Singaporean market. I’d have assumed that MMS, a phone that records video, video calls, and more, would be required.

  • dont forget it’s battery

  • Actually, I cannot remember the last time I needed to swap batteries on my cell phone. Oh wait, I can – it must’ve been 1998, when I was using a Nokia 5110. I had two batteries, one standard NiMH one, and one LiIon one (which was a slim battery). I think I carried on using the same batteries in the 6110 when I upgraded…

    Since then, I’ve never had to swap cellphone batteries. In fact, I use a MacBook Air, which doesn’t allow me to swap batteries. I thought this might be a big problem… and sometimes, it is, but it outweighs the convenience of not having to carry yet another battery. Yes, I wish the battery lasted longer, but at the same time, I’m not about to cry that its non-removable.

  • Actually, I think the Iphone should be available as this phone encourages you to go online. to check mail.

    So it is a net friendly phone and the experiences of not having super canggih camera is not the main concern.

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