iPhone gets the hype as India asks for keys to Blackberry

Robert Clark
29 May 2008

The iPhone jive circus is back in town. As if we’re surprised.

Apple is clearing the shelves ahead of the next product launch, quite possibly at its June developers’ conference.

Will it be the 3G version? Will Jobs go for the higher-res camera or the GPS chip? Or will he pull a surprise out of the sleeve of his black skivvy?

It doesn’t matter to most us in this part of the world. Not even the Japanese have yet been accepted as trustworthy iPhone customers. China Mobile scoffed at Apple’s ambitious commission scheme.

But given the rundown in inventory, it seems certain that iPhone 2.0 will be the first model to be sold legally in Asia-Pac through Apple’s new partners at SingTel and affiliates.

Maybe Jobs fears the same kind of ungrateful treatment being dished out to that other popular high-end device, the BlackBerry.

Four years after the phone began selling in India, authorities have discovered it’s encrypted. They’ve demanded RIM turn over the encryption keys or place its servers in India.

So far it’s at a standoff. And understandably, too. If BlackBerry is a possible tool for terrorists and insurgents today, it might have been four years ago when it debuted.

Experts ask why satphones, which are much more useful in the remote badlands and which are also encrypted, have escaped the critical scrutiny of the crack DoT security team.

If nothing else, the case highlights the government’s panic at its reliance on foreign decryption technology. The US will only sell 48-bit decoding technology to India; BlackBerry uses 256-key encryption.

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