Apple iPhone 5s / 5c in Argentina

Yep, it’s that time of the year again… The time when Apple releases the newest version of their iPhone and those of us in Argentina with technolust can only drool over the chance of getting one. (Because you know technology is super expensive here and way outdated. Hell, BlackBerry may actually be gaining marketshare in Argentina!)

Not gonna happen here.
Not gonna happen here.

This time Apple is releasing two new iPhones – the low(er) cost iPhone 5c as well as the high-end iPhone 5s. Both go on sale at 12:01 PDT tonight, though the iPhone 5c has been on pre-sale all week. This has lead to much speculation that the 5s will be in short supply when it is first released.

Let me say, the iPhone 5s is a thing of beauty. I’ve even really fallen in lust with the new gold colored one. Plus, it’s got a fingerprint reader, brand new camera, dual-flash, faster processor, and a whole slew of other features. After skipping the iPhone 5, I think it’s time to upgrade my iPhone 4s. Heck, I need the camera to take better pictures of my kids, right? That seems like the perfect reason.

Normally, I’d be out of luck getting one of these beauties into Argentina, but luckily, I have an unwitting mule to bring my iPhone 5s into Argentina. In a fortuitous bit of timing, my mother comes to Buenos Aires at the beginning of October to see her new grandson. Well, at least that’s why she thought she was coming… In actuality, it’s to bring my new iPhone.

So, yes, I’ll be up at 4:01am Argentina time to see about being one of the first to order the latest model. (And with a 5-week old son, being up at 4am is just a normal occurrence.) The unlocked 16GB version of the 5s is U$S 649, but I think that’s a good business expense, right? I mean I am in tech and do “need” it for work… Plus, I’ll resell my iPhone 4s here.

Are you crazy?
Are you crazy?

Now, if you’re in Argentina and lusting after the iPhone, I just got an email that one of the local deal sites is offering 25% off iPhones! Of course, there are a few gotchas:

  • It’s the iPhone 4s.
  • They only have two in stock.
  • The iPhone 4s is 2 years old (released October 11, 2011) and will not run all the features in IOS 7 (AirDrop, camera filters).
  • It’s $5,899! And YES, that’s with the 25% off. Thought you can get 12 payments…

So, if we take that at the blue rate of ARS $9.10, it’s still a whopping U$S 649 – the same price for 2-year old technology here as the brand new iPhone 5s is in the States.

Can you start to see the problems in this country? Maybe Apple will finally decide to start assembling iPhones in Tierra del Fuego, and then Argentines will be able to get iPhones without a trip to Miami – or having to be a government official.

Now, to see if I can get a nano SIM here or if those are nonexistent too…

UPDATE: So yes, I did wake up at 4:01am to order a gold iPhone 5s. I added it to my shopping cart and saw the “shipping in 1-3 business days” message, which was just right to get it to my mother in time. I then noticed it was the “T-Mobile GSM” unlocked version of the phone and drew a blank on whether or not GSM worked in Argentina. After some quick Googling, I found out that was the correct model and went back to check out. Of course, after paying, I noticed the delivery time had changed to 7-10 business days. That would not be enough time to get it to my mom before she left for Argentina! It also means that it would probably be returned to Apple as no one would be able to sign for delivery either. So, in the end it looks like all my efforts were wasted and there’s going to be no new iPhone for me…

UPDATE 2: I was able to change the delivery address for my gold iPhone 5s, and it’s now supposed to arrive at a friend’s house in Boston on October 10. As I have a November trip back to the US, I’ll be able to pick it up then and bring it back with me. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a second one too as they’re currently selling on MercadoLibre for about $15,000 pesos (U$S 1612 at the blue market rate). Still, seems like a lot of trouble for a phone.