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( September 11th 2013 4am wrap-up )

  • iPhone 5C specification similar to current iPhone 5 in plastic casing,
    • offered in variety of colors of white, yellow, green, blue and red
    • 16GB $99 / 32GB $199 on 2-year subscription
  • iPhone 5S exterior almost similar to existing iPhone 5,
    coming in silver,  gold AND grey
    (thus iPhone 5 slate-black will become a rarity)
    for 16GB $199 / 32GB $299 / 64GB $399 on 2-year subscription

    • Upgraded to A7 processor chip and 64bit
    • Home button contains thumb print scanner,
      facilitating one-touch access to unlock AND into App Store
    • much-enhanced Camera with bright f2.2 aperture
    • 15% wide-angle view
    • improved motion stabilizer
    • CAM enabling 120 frames-per-second video recording in 720p
  • pre-order commencing September 13th Friday
    will be released a Week later September 20th with iOS7

    • first-tier selling countries will include China, Singapore, Japan, Australia,
      Canada, US, UK, France and Germany
  • iPhone 5 having lost its place in between 5C and 5S : is now dis-continued
  • iOS7 to be distributed September 18th,
    with Gold Master version out later in the morning
    but incompatible with current iTunes version .

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thus again, time for the vain pursuit of Korean release – Korea Tech BLog
インペリアル・スターデストロイヤー - ガンダム&いろいろミュージアム

( morning Update ) as students arrived onto early classes throughout South Korea : common question to each other :

“Hey, did you see the news about iPhone 5S ? almost the same huh”

and that is the general provocative in the home-ground of the Galaxy, aside from the die-hard Apple-ppa’s (term derived from earlier Sony-ppa’s who yearned for sleek VAIOs carried from neighboring Japan, even when there were NO Official support in Korea) who stayed-up lated last night due to time difference .

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( September 16 Monday Update ) in a massively-connected country like South Korea : all sorts of virtual bait are posted for potential viewers to click on . and the latest today to feed on anticipation from Apple fans, in way of fake news today, that iPhone 5C and 5S passed mandatory Broadcasting and Communications Equipment Certification test from National Radio Research Agency .

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[ Using iPhone 5S Bought Abroad in South Korea – Compatibility ]
posted repeatedly as Korea has ranked among THE latest country to release Apple iPhones AND iPads – no wonder local branch employees from their competing Conglomerate manufacturer line-up in the dozens up-front when a NEW iPad was launched in Sydney, Australia, intact with hired body-guards just in case it comes to pose a problem, right .

so it is September 21st 2013, and just after a THREE-day ThanksGiving Holiday, whose golden weekend is still at play because it is a Saturday, when another luring iPhone 5S is now released around some of the leading cities around the World .. except in the Korean Peninsula .

so just keep THREE things in mind and you will be in safe hands :

  1. Cellular Frequency : South Korea uses 1429 GSM
  2. LTE Data : 3, 5 (850, 1800)
  3. BOTH (European) GSM AND (international) CDMA are used in Dual from iPhone 5,
    and should use the same (850, 1800) LTE Frequency.

( compatible countries )

  1. North American Verizon models will be compatible if verified as, or changed to GSM
  2. UK uses identical frequencies as South Korea, thus are 100% compatible,
  3. as well as Hong Kong and Singapore are fully compatible .

( No, No and No )

  1. closest country of early release : Japan do NOT sell unlocked iPhone 5S,
  2. iPhones AND iPad cellular versions have local warranty,
    thus you will have to send it back for repair, in case of malfunction in South Korea .

( also note as reference )

  1. iPhones sold at Apple Stores are (carrier, NOT country) unlocked but NOT Official,
  2. so check Listing contents at eBay on the same models, from independent sellers .
  3. data-transfer history: South Korea has used CDMA 2G, then 3G, and now LTE)

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( September 24th Update after Korean ThanksGiving WeekEnd )

iPhone 5C and 5S is likely to land on Korean shores THREE Months after States-side release in December, as did iPhone 5 before . and end of November at earliest .

  1. fore-most is the issue of mandatory Broadcasting and Communications Equipment Certification, required for all cellular devices
  2. then playing-card time between Apple and local carriers, where Apple won’t be pressed this time around, as they have neighboring China Telecom and Japan’s NTT Docomo signed-up, and neither Korea’s KT nor SKT for iPhone don’t generate much (by far) subscribers as Galaxy, but still tasty to miss-out .

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– Korea Tech BLog –

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( black market prices ) as South Korea’s living standard has soared to one of the highest in the World, so do its citizens travel abroad in studies as well as business, and ofcourse .. pleasure 😉 also quite a lot of those who left earlier – when the Peninsula was ruled by harsh military regimes with propaganda of Northern invasion threat – are returning with its English Teacher Rush . as the nation only introduced the iPhone from 3GS on, even 3 Months later than the States in case of preceding iPhone 5, some of them brought a couple or more to sell with slight premium .

Wi-Fi iPads were easier for you just had to snatch’em up from a neighboring country, but the selection narrowed for cellular devices with the same Korean frequency . witnessing those who made profit from last year’s belated iPhone 5, now even companies have joined the catch, notably those in Hong Kong and Australia – NOT geographically close, but at least around the same Pacific Rim and using the same cellular frequency . and no one is calling it black market, but “purchase service” in civilized Korean hum ..

the prices vary much depending upon the mid-person or company – even W200,000 on 64GB Gold colors – where sellers with lower price indicate probable wait .. perhaps Weeks, for actual device to ship-out . thus the following as a guide for now :

Unlocked A1530 . . . Grey color . . . Silver color . . . Gold color . .
iPhone 5S 16GB . . W1,100,000 . . W1,240,000 . . W1,380,000
iPhone 5S 32GB . . W1,240,000 . . W1,380,000 . . W1,520,000
iPhone 5S 64GB . . W1,380,000 . . W1,520,000 . . W1,660,000

most ship via Priorty Mail int’l or EMS equivalent (from my eBay experience : shipping from and to neighboring Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore is FAST, indonesia and Australia : so-so, while China takes a long time considering its proximity). also iPhone 5S cases in a choice of 6 colors made of sleek leather, selling at US Apple Store for $39. could be had quite easily at W65,000
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( Hong Kong ) iPhone 5S is all sold-out on BOTH Official Apple Stores at iFC Mall AND Causeway Bay . but because it is a part of China with remnants-ever of the sleazy Beijing Silk Market : there are people with a bag standing around these outlets, mostly with grey color in-hand and they sell at added premium depending on color, with White slightly higher and Gold more . Hong Kong like South Korea did NOT have an Offical Apple Store until recently and there are quite many so-called Premium Resellers as well as individual electronics stores around Causeway Bay AND Harbour Town, and they too sell iPhone 5S at added premium where the going-rate for White is around 16GB HKD7100, 32GB HKD7500 and 64GB HKD8000

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( October 11th Friday Hurrah ) among a foray of iPhone 5S and even 5C and its colorful assortment of Apple leather cases, flown-in through business travelers, returning students and black marketeers, they will be available much sooner than preceding iPhone 5 which lagged a Season-late introduction last December duh .

thus following Official release last September 20th Friday at the States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Puerto Rico, China, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan .. South Korea is among the second allotment poised for release October 5th, then the third a Week later on November 1st all Fridays //

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( October 14th Monday ) black market is virtually gone with news of Korean release date, with only Gold color holding-on as it is expected to be short there-after as it is currently World-Wide : 16GB selling at W1,050,000 / 32GB : W1,100,000 and 64GB 1,200,000 while riche-color assortment of Official Apple iPhone 5S leather cases going at W55,000 with only beige color hold onto W65,000

while these black marketeers (called abroad purchase intermediators in a society prouding themselves as the nation of manners, but more-so as it is not exactly illegal but stashing quite a bite of service fee, even from over-charged freight) has tasted the sour this time around with iPhone 5C and 5S Officially ushering into Korea much earlier than expected, the two major cellular carriers of KT and SKT telecoms will take early reservations from October 18th Friday, for a full Week until the day before Official Korean release a Week there-after . exact price have NOT yet been announced but should be like last year, with quite discounts from community group-buys .

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( D-Day Minus ONE Week-end of October 19th ) KT Telecom – the fore-runner of everything iPhone in South Korea – has just ended a 5000-limited early sign-up of iPhone 5S, with other vendors and community groups still accepting . all this but it is one with a temporary price which could change with Official release AND the buyer NOT obligated currently . thus many are waiting for real sales like last December, when iPhone 5 sold at much discount – notably at On-Line discount-coupon store which THE place to buy anything currently – despite its 3-Month-late release into South Korea .

still many are considering to sign-up early in case Gold 5S becomes short like World-Wide, but impressively vendors are telling they will have enough of it once sales begins .. so may be Apple increased production in light of early shortage .

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( D-Day -4 Monday Update ) almost 90% of early reservation so far seems to be iPhone 5S Gold, so various add-on give-aways and benefits seem be at planning stage for other models, and all WILL be available on Apple’s ONLY Official Store in South Korea which is On-Line .

( D-Day -3 Tuesday October 22nd ) only in Korea, although now developed as to its consumers lead as the most technologically atuned (but balk at iTunes) but still with remnant memories poor, beaten days : people are signing-up blindly (although it is NOT 100% binding) at this stage of early sign-up, which began last Friday (with KT’s Official On-Line site Olleh – Yes confusing but they all come up with a website name they deem mucho catchy yawn) with price hint over the Week-End and more solid rates supposed to emerge this morning ..

and with all the deliberate price crunching from telecommunication branches and vendors, basic going-rate for the phone alone are :

  • LTE340 price plan : iPhone 5S 16GB W614,000
  • LTE670 price plan : iPhone 5S 32GB W746,000
  • LTE340 price plan : iPhone 5S 16GB W564,000
  • LTE670 price plan : iPhone 5S 32GB W696,000

they initially started taking early reservation with the more expensive LTE670 plan above when commencing last Friday and more moderate LTE340 emerged over the WeekEnd . they offer data transfers of 6.7 and 3.4GB respectively but allow 1~1.5GB more depending on event promotions . the latter is more than enough for the casual user, while former ample for hard-core data users . the price mentioned is total price from which the phone is discounted, then billed for Monthly over TWO Years, with mandatory usage for the first 6 Months .

*NO inquiries on these price and terms please including when and where, as they are approximate and will fluctuate .

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( D-Day Minus-1 Thursday morning ) D-Day is here in a way, for Official KT On-Line Store is beginning to ship-out to those 5000 who reserved early from last Weekend, as these are over-night shipments to arrive tomorrow to the end user . iPhone release-day hype is considerably lessened as versions advance due to TWO reasons : many general users are reverting back to the accustomed  Galaxy camp AND afficionatos are waiting more extensive discounts, which appeared in the form of guerilla sales on the latest fad of On-Line coupon sites last December for iPhone 5 //

( afternoon update ) some people already got it // some picked it up a their reserved branch or had it sent via “Quick Service” : Korea’s synonym for same-day, usually TWO-hours delivery by motorcycle within city limits . many branches seem to have got ample Gold in advance from witnessing World-Wide shortage . one larger branch reveals to have more than 10 times much of 16 than 32 or 64GB in Gold iPhone 5S WooHa

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( D-Day Morning 8am October 25th 2013 Friday )

some over-night courrier services which do move during the night had extra speed last night, as some of those signed-up earlier already received theirs at dawn 😉 and all the boasting from some telecommunication branches of having enough of iPhone 5S Gold may be mere catch, as ..

  1. Apple’s only Official Store which is On-Line opened early morning, but availability immediately switched from “available” to “2~3 Weeks”
  2. and Gold color is sold-out also on the leading Apple carrier KT’s Official Website “Olleh” (yep they all come up with wishful-catchy names only to confuse matters further)
  3. although lining-up on queue is not in Korea’s modern culture : a handful of early-adopters started gathering during the wee hours of the night in front of the main Frisbee store (the first larger Apple Premium or what-ever ReSellers only with the influx of iPhone – and belated in 3GS at that, as there were only a rag-tag dots of small stores around the Peninsula before that for neglected Macs) and about 100 formed as of 8am when they opened Friday Morning October 25th 2013 : on the Official release date for iPhone 5C and 5S . they ARE selling unlocked iPhone 5C and 5S .

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[ iPhone 5S PRICE ]

the now-Official price for unlocked iPhone 5S 16GB is W880,000 and 32GB W1,010,000 then 64GB W1,140,000

while common discount from telecommunication branches on 2-Year subscription is -W140,000 with about W50,000 worth of accessories like case and screen protector film . only if you subscribe higher price-plans like 67LTE where you will get 5GB data allowance per Month, which is W67,000 per Month but discounted to W50,000 if you subscribe to a 2-Year plan : you will get an extra -W130,000 off, all taken off /before/ purchase – they is an instance of a branch disappearing after promising the latter discount as price-back /after/ purchase so beware on anything less than clear and transparent price up-front .

in the case of earlier cell phones the subscription was a Year, with 3-Month mandatory but has increased to 2 Years with the hike on smart-phone price, with mandatory 6-Month use . if you do cancel your plan before this : they will charge you FULL price of the phone PLUS Monthly usage discount .

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[ iPhone 5C and 5S WARRANTY AND INSURANCE ] more correct to say warranty and insurance terms when this iPhone 5C and 5S is released, as they change over time :

  1. Apple’s only Official Store in South Korea is On-Line and had been offering no-questions asked REFUND on those returned within a Month, but such generous service is grant for a picky consumer society like Korea (albeit the SamSung extortion scheme) so they have reduced this since the time of last iPhone 5 release saying it has to be returned 2 Weeks from purchase although initial warranty (for REFUND) is a Month ??? probably indicating those damaged during shipment . still over-all warranty remains a Year .
  2. by law, all telecommunication device can be returned for exchange OR REFUND within 2 Weeks if you site calling malfunction – your word against theirs, and you will win in this time-period .
  3. aside from that telecommunication companies like KT and SKT offer insurance at the time of initial sign-up (including theft to damage offered by Apple alike) with about 3~4 different prices depending upon normal cell phone or smart-phone : where they will re-emburse you 30% . for example in case middle-range insurance for KT : you have to pay W4700 Monthly, to get insurance on W800,000 worth smart-phone, from which you will get W560,000 if you lose or damage it . continues for 2 years and expires automatically when you re-sell the device .

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( D-Day WeekEnd ) Sunday Morning most telecommunications branches throughout South Korea have ample iPhone 5S except GOLD . common discount is -W130,000 on 2-Year subscription with mandatory 6-Month usage . if you cancel before that : you will be charged the whole retail price of the phone as well as any discount on Monthly usage .

but it is just another WeekEnd for most of the population, perhaps only that chilly winds have started to blow after quite a long~ hot Summer . this is felt even in central metropolis where more Apple-ppa (term borne from avid Sony-fan days) reside AND work than any other region in the Peninsula, as a large portion of early curious have gone back to their SamSung comfort zone in the Galaxy, so-much-so that most are un-aware a NEW iPhone has come out duh-huh ?

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( D-Day+3 Monday ) UnLocked iPhone 5S are currently selling at Apple Premium or what-ever ReSellers in Frisbee and A# branches (locations well listed on top menu), while NOT yet selling at neither Concierge nor KT Telecommunication branches (to be signed-up with 2-Year subscription only). ofcourse 64GB Gold is largely gone, as well as most 32GB .

( D-Day+5 Tuesday ) further discounts similar to belated iPhone 5 last December is coming out on mobile discount coupon sites, at W270,000 discount on purchase (thus NOT pay-back) with LTE34 Monthly plan for 16GB except Gold . 2-Year subscription with 6-Month mandatory usage . this is for KT device-change .

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( ThanksGiving and BLACK FRIDAY ) the amazing things humans can do .. short of watching how one super-heroe can save a whole planet as in the recent Man of Steel : iPhone 5S factories in China seems to have pumped-up into high, higher then highest gear as expected delivery dates changed from a dragging 2~3 Weeks, to mere 3~5 Days on the ONLY Official Apple Store in Korea which is On-Line – even 64GB GOLD ! ofcourse in prospect to North America’s greatest shopping season BUT ThanksGiving dates are different here and absolutely NO concept of Black Friday nor even Seasonal SALE due to cut-throat On-Line Malls and the emergence of OutLet Malls .

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– Korea Tech BLog usually compresses relevant topic into a single Post or Page (on topics expected to hold true for more than a Year), so re-arrange later in case of iPhones and iPads where the boring game ever continues from our natural-borne Apple-worship –