iPhone 4 in SA early September, now also includes MTN

MTN subscribers will not have to fork out large boodles of cash to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone 4 because the operator’s South African network will launch it. That’s the word from an industry insider who spoke exclusively to Memeburn, but did not wish to be named.

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Both Vodacom and MTN should begin selling the iPhone 4 in early September, although an exact date cannot be confirmed at this stage because of brisk sales of the device in both the USA and across Europe.

South Africa has traditionally been on a “third tier” level for receiving the device and local stock numbers are very heavily dependent on the demand for the iPhone in higher tier regions, like New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Russia.

The iPhone 4 went on sale in Apple Stores in the USA and UK on Thursday this week where people queued for as long as two weeks to ensure that they would of the first in the world to own the much desired device.

But, in spite of these efforts, some customers who ordered their phone online, had already had theirs delivered a day earlier.

Vodacom first launched the iPhone 3G in South Africa in September 2008, which was followed by the iPhone 3Gs in August last year.

Earlier this week, on Monday evening, Apple unleashed iOS4 (previously called iPhone OS), the first operating system for the iPhone (limited features on 3G and full-featured on 3Gs models), iPod touch (third generation only) and, in September, iPad that supports Apple’s own take on multitasking, conveniently now trademarked Multi-Tasking by Steve Jobs.

Apple’s delay in bringing multitasking to its smartphone and iPod touch was because the company didn’t want to compromise the device’s performance.

Jobs contended that this feature, already available for years on other platforms like Symbian, UIQ and Android, would decrease battery life while impeding processor performance.

While many mocked Apple diehards for the iPhone’s lack of what most considered to be an essential feature, Google’s co-founder, Larry Page earlier this year admitted that this was the reason for Android’s poor battery performance saying, “I have noticed there are a few people who have phones where there is software running in the background that just sort of exhausts the battery quickly.”

iOS4 delivers the feature in the characteristically Apple style with the entire approach having been redesigned and rewritten so that the device’s performance is in no small way compromised.

Another feature that comes to the iPhone 4 is Facetime, something we are already familiar with as the 3G Video Conferencing feature on most 3G enabled phones. Yet again, expect that Apple will rewrite the book on video conferencing from a mobile device and, in so doing, catapult a service that’s largely failed to win users, into a desirable service that everybody must have in their pockets.

In fact, Facetime will probably eventually connect with iChat on Macs enabling the mobile device to conference with Macs and other smartphones. However, for now the feature will only work between iPhone 4 devices and across a wi-fi connection.

So, South Africa, ring the date on your calendars –- the iPhone 4 will reach us by September and it will be launching on MTN as well as Vodacom. But, don’t expect this to result in a price war. Apple products never indulge in price wars because Apple is a premium brand commanding top prices.

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