As an Apple user from the very first click, I am delighted to see that Apple products have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. I often considered using a Linux machine instead of my Apple computers for their open source-ness, but never did so because a Mac was just easier to use by far (and still is!). One other main reason of sticking to Apple was that Apple did not treat their user as a criminal by not requiring ‘product activation keys’ (like Microsoft started with XP) or other make-life-difficult techniques.
Apparently with the iPhone Apple has changed its policy and patronizes users in Germany by not allowing them to buy an iPhone and use it as they want but bundling it with an expensive two-year T-Mobile contract.
There are alternatives though: In Italy the iPhone is sold freely via the Apple Store (599 € / 699 € for the iPhone 3 GS 16/32 GB). Apple also offers a “Protection Plan” to extend warranty services to 3 years and this is normally valid worldwide for portable devices which is of course great when you’re travelling. Also, you can buy a Mac abroad and the Protection Plan at home and you have all the benefits of the plan as if you bought the Mac at home as well.
This is not valid for the iPhone. As I was told by the Apple Care hotline just now, the worldwide warranty is not applicable to the iPhone. That is, if I buy an iPhone in Italy and something gets damaged, I need to send it to Apple Italy.
What happened to user friendliness, Apple?
Update 14 Oct 2009
Apart from the problems with tethering mentioned above, there appear to be more restrictions by Apple that are discomforting. One I noticed just recently is that the iPhone cannot be synced wirelessly with a Mac but only with the USB cable. While wireless syncing is supported through “Mobile Me” (which costs extra), one gets the impression that this feature has been deliberately disabled for “normal” iPhone users to advertise Mobile Me.
Update 3 Feb 2010
With the iPhone OS 3.1.3 update tethering now works again (for free iPhones). Thank you, Apple.