Vodafone NZ will offer the iPhone 4 for sale on 30 July, as foreshadowed by Apple at its recent press conference.
Vodafone spokesperson Paul Brislen confirmed the date but was unable to provide information on plans or say whether customers buying an iPhone 4 will receive a free ‘bumper’. A bumper is a kind of thick elastic band that covers the device’s external antenna in order to prevent the so-called "death grip" which can interfere with the signal strength. The antenna was a feature designed to improve the iPhone's performance (eg longer battery life) but it resulted in reports of dropped calls, forcing Apple to call a press confernce to address concerns last Saturday (NZ time).
As for the iPad, Apple has announced it will be on sale in New Zealand in reseller stores (for example, Magnum Mac and Dick Smiths) this Friday. Brislen says they will be sold with a Vodafone Micro SIM already installed. Again, plans are yet to be announced. As the iPad is sold via Apple distributors, Vodafone will be unable to offer subsidies on the device.
“The iPad is a different kettle of fish, we don’t sell it in our stores,” Brislen told Computerworld. “The Apple model for the iPad is they sell it and we support it.”
Meanwhile Vodafone customers can buy micro-SIMS – basically a cut-down version of a typical device SIM card - online and at the telco’s stores. Brislen says post-pay customers can exchange their exisitng SIM for free, while pre-Pay customers will pay $30.
Brislen says Micro SIMs are the new standard, and that Apple is the first off the block by introducing them for the iPad and iPhone 4. He expects most device manufacturers to move to this model in the next couple of years.
Other telcos, such as Telecom, 2degrees and Orcon, have indicated they too will be selling Micro SIMS that can be used in the iPhone 4 and iPad. However, none of these telcos have an official distribution deal with Apple.
“Nobody else has got a network that Apple trusts enough to run an iPhone on,” Brislen says.