updated 11:10 am EDT, Tue July 8, 2008
Apple CDN Denying iPhones
Apple Canada may be further punishing Rogers by refusing to sell the iPhone 3G at its own retail stores, according to an investigation by AppleInsider. A conference call purportedly held Monday evening will see Apple decline to sell iPhones at its own stores, instead showing them only as demo units. Customers will have no choice but to visit a Fido or Rogers store to buy the device, the report explains.
While Apple still has a smaller Canadian retail presence, a ban would significantly reduce supply in the greater Toronto area, where Apple maintains three stores, and would also hurt the wider Montreal area, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
The move would have come just a day after Apple is reported to have cut back its initial shipments to Rogers in an attempt to pressure the Canadian telecoms firm into providing better terms for customers. However, Rogers spokeswoman Elizabeth Hamilton has since denied the assertion, saying that Rogers' supply levels haven't changed since the iPhone was announced for Canada last month.
The cellular provider has drawn steadily mounting criticism from both prospective customers and from the mainstream press, all of whom have noted the discrepancy between what Rogers charges versus AT&T in the US or O2 in the UK. A $75 Rogers plan compared to an equivalent AT&T plan offers a third fewer minutes per month, just 750MB of data, and just 75 outbound messages versus AT&T's 200 total. Rogers has justified its position by portraying other countries as worse and claiming that it would need to charge more for unlimited data use without providing an estimate of the difference.
Critics have also chastized the company for its attempt to mollify customers by letting them pick from regular data plans, which either offer less data at $30 per month for 300MB or else charge as much as $100 for 6GB, although these plans are universal and allow for tethering to computers on non-iPhone devices.
Rogers has been contacted regarding these latest claims but hasn't responded as of this writing.