Tag Archives | iphone

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 (Because you know technology is super expensive here and way outdated.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.


iPhone 5 in Argentina

Yesterday Apple released the details on their newest iPhone, the iPhone 5. While these events are getting less and less climatic due to the number of leaks that come out beforehand, the latest iPhone still has a number of great new features including a bigger screen, thinner size, higher-speed LTE network, faster WiFi, new earbuds and much more.

Want to get one in Argentina? You’re out of luck.

With the government’s import restrictions, and Apple’s refusal to produce the devices in Tierra del Fuego, local mobile phone companies have no plans to market the new iPhone in Argentina. Your only option will be to buy one overseas and bring it back with you. And if that’s your plan, you’ll have to wait at least a few weeks until Apple starts selling unlocked iPhone 5’s (the initial ones will be for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon only).

So, say you get one of these unlocked iPhone 5s? Great, but that leaves you with just one problem…

The new iPhone 5 also uses a new nano SIM which is smaller and thinner than the current micro SIMs. This means that an existing SIM card cannot be cut down to fit the new iPhone 5. Claro, Personal and Movistar all report that they will sell these nano SIM cards to customers who get their iPhones outside the country, but of course have no dates as to when that will actually happen.

Hopefully, the fact that Argentine officials love Apple products will speed up this process.

(Oh yeah, and don’t even hope for LTE speeds. Just be happy if your 3G actually is somewhat reliable.)

UPDATE (12/3/12): Looks like the nano SIM is now available in Argentina, so all those illegal iPhone 5s now work here.


Argentina Tightens Customs Inspections at Airports

The big news this week was that Argentina has banned the import of books into the country in the name of protecting citizens against “dangerous levels of lead in foreign made inks.” This new book ban means that one will no longer be able to order from Amazon.com without having to make a trip out to Ezeiza to collect the books and pay additional taxes and duties, effectively killing any foreign made books from entering the market overnight.

While this regulation made worldwide news, another new regulation received significantly less press – a regulation to dramatically increase customs inspections at the Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports.

Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno announced that additional inspectors and equipment will be brought in to combat the rise in electronics smuggling and resale by foreigners. Moreno said (translated from Spanish):

We are well aware that many foreigners entering the country now sneak in additional electronics with them to resell here. You can look at any of the classified or expat sites and see that there are iPads, iPhones, iPods and countless other electronic items for sale at two to three times the retail price overseas. These foreigners hope to turn a profit because Argentina has such tight import controls that make these products difficult to find here and more costly.

For too long, we have allowed easier access to foreigners through our airport checkpoints than to our own citizens. This must end immediately, so we are announcing new measures to combat this practice.

These new measures are included in Regulation 26/13 and state, in part:

  • those with foreign passports will have all baggage inspected more thoroughly than those with Argentine passports
  • all jackets and outerwear must be removed and sent through the x-ray machine to make sure no one has iPhones in their pockets
  • anyone claiming to not speak Spanish will no longer be waved through customs, but will be sent to a separate line with English speaking customs agents who may conduct pat downs and, in rare cases, body cavity searches if electronics are suspected
  • lack of original boxes or packaging will not be taken as a sign that devices are not new and not intended for resale
  • any discovered electronics will be confiscated and the person carrying such devices may be fined, deported or face jail time

Inspectors will be on the look out for anyone who has items with protective covers still attached or plugs/cables that do not appear to be used. They caution that the best way to avoid excess scrutiny is to declare any items before you leave the country or only carry older models of electronics, such as the iPhone 2, first-generation iPad, etc. as no one will want to buy those anyhow. They will also require foreigners to turn on electronic devices and show that there is use, which may include personal documents and photos, call logs, games, etc. “If we see Angry Birds, Lady Gaga and pictures of your girlfriend, we’ll be more like to believe that your iPhone is not going to be resold,” one customs agent said.

“It is time for us to put an end to this practice and show foreigners that they must abide by the same bureaucratic laws that our citizens do,” Moreno concluded. “Plus, with additional customs agents, we will reduce the amount of time people must wait in line – another problem in Argentina that must be addressed.”

This new regulation goes into effect on April 1, 2012, so be sure and watch out!

Related posts – and please look again at the date of this post – April Fools Day. 🙂


Save Bandwidth On Your iPhone

Have an iPhone? Have data limits? Or are you traveling to Argentina and need to use your home data plan while here? All these things can be incredibly expensive, but there is a cool new app for the iPhone called Onavo that can save you a lot of data usage and extra charges.

Onavo is free and after you install it on your iPhone, it immediately goes to work in the background compressing all the data coming into and out of your iPhone. I’ve been using it for a few days now and have seen no noticeably slowdown in speed, but have seen a significant decrease in data usage. Pretty cool and definitely one of the apps you should be running.

You can check out their video for more details: