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iPhone At Last!

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First published in the Hindustan Times (Mumbai edition)
Column in HT Cafe

Column in HT Cafe

We waited for the “unlocked” piece that would, rest assured, hit the Indian grey market a few days after the iPhone launch in the US. It never came! All that chest thumping in the newspapers from the Palika bazaar and Nehru Place wheeler dealers proved to be an empty boast. This baby was secure and unbreakable. There was only one way to do it – the legal way. We called up TV18’s New York bureau chief, Indira Kannan and asked her if she would buy one, activate it and send it across to us. Luckily Indira’s existing plan was coming to an end and she wanted to switch operators anyway. In the US they have number portability which means she could retain her number even if she changed to AT&T. So she bought it, got it up and running, routed her calls to voicemail and set up a cheap international roaming and dialing plan on it. She packed it, shipped it and sent it. Just to make sure that there would be no customs hassles, we asked her not to send it in the box. It arrived safe and sound.


Suddenly, the geeks at Tech 2.0 are the coolest, most popular people in the office. We’re getting mobbed and manhandled. People are asking us for autographs! Ok, maybe not that last sentence, but the rest is true.

I’ve been reviewing gadgets for half a decade now and never has anything in my hand got the reaction that this gets. Just seeing the joy and wonder on people’s faces when you show them some of the nifty multi-touch tricks, is fantastic. Tech 2.0 Editor, Varun Singh, got to spend a night with it and I’ve pried it outta his hands for a couple of days till the reviewers take over.

I’ve been an iPhone skeptic in the past, but I may just cease to be a naysayer. None of the cool features have any real utility but Apple has never been about pragmatism has it? The sheer “cool” value of flicking your fingers on the screen and “pinching” photographs puts you in another league of user. I’m sure our reviewers will find lots of glitches but the first week preview is a total thumbs up.


A source at NASSCOM tells me that they’re trying to get Apple founder Steve Jobs to address the big annual summit in February next year. It’s definitely going to be a stretch since Apple has little interest in India. Not only have they refused to officially set up shop in one of the world’s fastest growing markets but they were among the first to pull back tech support from Bangalore.

I suggested that NASSCOM try the emotional route to bringing him here. Jobs, at Stanford’s 2005 convocation, admitted that he used to have his only meal of the week at a Hare Krishna temple. This was when he was hanging around at Reed College for a year, even after dropping out and learning ran dom stuff like calligraphy, which eventually inspired the superb Mac intosh fonts. He then backpacked around India for a bit with a friend before going back to start Apple. And if all that isn’t enough, his spoof online avataar, the consistently hilarious ‘Fake Steve Jobs’ loves saying “Namaste!”


Written by Abhi 2.0

August 6, 2007 at 1:41 am