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CONFIRMED: Apple Retail Stores in Canada NOT carrying the iPhone

Apple officially announced today that it would not be carrying the iPhone in Canadian apple stores, finally putting to rest countless rumours and speculative blog posts regarding the device’s Canadian availability.

Speculation on whether or not the iPhone would be sold in Apple’s stores ran the gamut from vague curiosity to rumours of an Apple power play to divert an allotment of iPhone stock destined for Canada to Europe.

Apple, disgusted with Rogers Wireless for dumping egregious service plans on would-be iPhone 3G buyers, has decided that its Canadian retail stores will have no part in helping the carrier market the new handset to customers.

Asked whether the decision not to sell the iPhone was a result of Rogers’ poor service offerings, (Apple’s) representative would only say that: “We have nothing to do with the service plans. Those are Rogers’ plans.” (Apple Insider).

CBC has also run an article in which speculation that the iPhone’s unavailability at Apple stores is the result of bad blood between Apple and Rogers.

“An Apple store manager last week confirmed to that staff were “very disappointed” by the cellphone company’s rates and that Apple was keeping a tally of complaints.”

None of these rumours have been confirmed, but one thing is for certain: whether you buy one or not, potential Canadian iPhone owners are almost universally irked on some level by how the Canadian launch has gone so far.

Since the June 27 announcement by Rogers of their new rate plans for the iPhone, public outcry has reached a near-fever pitch. Would-be iPhone purchasers have been posting hate-filled messages on blogs throughout the Internetz, Canadian and otherwise. Apple-focused news site started a thread on the day that has since reached 3154 negative ratings and 1389 comments. And that’s just one of countless examples, all of which read basically the same way.

And, of course, there’s these guys.

Amidst all this furor, it’s very easy to overlook the facts, as fandom does tend to could one’s vision, and when combined with a touch of the rage, common sense does tend to take a back seat. You see, the truth is, Apple never intended to sell the iPhone at retail locations in Canada, or anywhere else outside the United States. If you’ve been checking the “where to buy” section of Apple’s Canadian website, you’d see the only places from which the iPhone can be purchased have ever been either a Rogers or a Fido location. This is one of those cases in which the rumour mill got things backwards, and rather than flatly reporting what people didn’t want to hear, the news of Apple’s availability was spun in whichever way so as to cast Rogers in the worst light possible. At the risk of editorializing, I am no fan of Rogers’ current pricing structure and truly feel that in a wireless landscape in which 2 of the 3 wireless providers are able to offer an unlimited data plan on an HTML-browsing-capable device for as low as $10/mo, gouging customers for more money while offering less content could almost be called criminal. However, those are the facts. Claims such as Apple diverting its Rogers iPhone shipment to Europe out of spite is storytelling, albeit damn good storytelling.

With all the anger and petition signing and idle threats to Ted Rogers’ well-being, there has been almost no response from Rogers, other than to say that they don’t respond to petitions or idle threats.

The iPhone will be available through Rogers and Fido on July 11 2008. Check the RGBFilter blog for reports on how successful Canada’s iPhone launch is.

ED NOTE:  It appears that Apple Stores outside the US, including the UK, Italy, Japan and Australia will be iPhone 3G free as well.  The lack of phones in Canadian Apple Stores appears more a matter of Apple policy than of rumoured spats between the big white fruit and the big red eye of Rogers.

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