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MacBytes
Mar 14, 2009, 12:52 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Issues with the Saudi iPhone 1: Arabic Support (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20090314135245)
Description:: It is a shock that the iPhone 3G was released in Saudi Arabia without any Arabic support. The iPhone 3G as of late February 2009 is now available in four Arabic speaking countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Egypt).

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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TEG
Mar 14, 2009, 01:24 PM
This is also true of the iPhone in Greece, where it has no Greek language support, only Greeklish, mimicking the Greek language using Latin characters.

TEG

SaudiMac
Mar 14, 2009, 02:34 PM
I really hope Apple will add these missing languages in the next 3.0 update otherwise it would be a huge let down :(

Voidness
Mar 14, 2009, 06:36 PM
This is also true of the iPhone in Greece, where it has no Greek language support, only Greeklish, mimicking the Greek language using Latin characters.

TEG
Greek in Latin characters? I never knew that. :)

But at least there's some form of Greek language support. Selling the iPhone in 5 Arab countries (Namely: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar) without any Arabic support is just dumb.

iPods are even worse, they don't display Arabic script at all. How is it for Greek?

SaudiMac
Mar 15, 2009, 04:54 AM
iPods are even worse, they don't display Arabic script at all.

We were promised Arabic iPods and Mac OS X since 2006 (http://www.khaled.us/2006/01/24/apple-plans-arabic-ipod-os-x/).
Nothing changed since then, except iPhone OS 2.0 supports broken arabic characters.

Oh and ABM is releasing late localizations of Leopard, their latest is 10.5.5 ( download here, registration mandatory (http://www.appleme.ae/ara/support/arabicreleases/)).

Attonine
Mar 16, 2009, 04:40 AM
I have to say the lack of Arabic support is the least of the problems with the launch of the iPhone is Saudi. The whole thing is a mess. Mobily, the carrier, has introduced some packages which are "VIP" only, this means that only those who have a regular monthly bill of $250 or something can subscribe the the package, and it's not a very good one at that. Mobily also doesn't seem to know what they are selling. There is a lot of confusion as to whether the phone is locked to Moily or not. It seems Mobily is insisting it is, but Apple is saying it's not on their website, tests have shown it works with other sims, so it looks like Apple are correct. I work in the Flagship University in the whole of the Arabian Gulf and can honestly say no-one realy has any idea about the iPhone at all, most think it's a phone that is brand new to the market. The blog saudimac has info about the Saudi release and the mess that it is, some is quite funny, some just leaves you bemused. Pretty much the norm for Saudi really. It seems that the Emirates are in a similar mess too.

SaudiMac
Mar 16, 2009, 04:47 AM
I have to say the lack of Arabic support is the least of the problems with the launch of the iPhone is Saudi. The whole thing is a mess. Mobily, the carrier, has introduced some packages which are "VIP" only, this means that only those who have a regular monthly bill of $250 or something can subscribe the the package, and it's not a very good one at that. Mobily also doesn't seem to know what they are selling. There is a lot of confusion as to whether the phone is locked to Moily or not. It seems Mobily is insisting it is, but Apple is saying it's not on their website, tests have shown it works with other sims, so it looks like Apple are correct. I work in the Flagship University in the whole of the Arabian Gulf and can honestly say no-one realy has any idea about the iPhone at all, most think it's a phone that is brand new to the market. The blog saudimac has info about the Saudi release and the mess that it is, some is quite funny, some just leaves you bemused. Pretty much the norm for Saudi really. It seems that the Emirates are in a similar mess too.
Yes, Mobily handled the release badly (http://www.saudimac.com/2009/02/25/iphone-and-mobily-a-world-of-oddity/).
The new bundles and their uncertain requirements for VIP status is also weird (http://www.saudimac.com/2009/03/02/iphone-3g-with-mobily-only-for-vip/).

3247
Mar 16, 2009, 07:36 AM
But at least there's some form of Greek language support. Selling the iPhone in 5 Arab countries (Namely: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar) without any Arabic support is just dumb.Not if you assume that your target group - rich businessmen - is able to speak English. The average person in Arab countries may not be able to afford it anyway.

Attonine
Mar 16, 2009, 09:01 AM
Not if you assume that your target group - rich businessmen - is able to speak English. The average person in Arab countries may not be able to afford it anyway.

I think this is fuzzy logic. Your statement suggests that rich businessmen in the Arabic speaking countries speak English, whereas rich businessmen in countries that have language support from Apple do not speak English, is this really the case? I am sure that the reason for no Arabic language support has more to do with the lack of importance of the Arabic speaking market. Apple has very low penetration in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf.
I can say that there are plenty of Saudis who could easily afford an iPhone (and qualify for Mobily's VIP status in order to be able to buy one) who cannot speak a word of English.

I would suggest that the average Emirati and Qatari could easily afford the iPhone without even noticing they had spent the money. The average Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian would be a different case though.

SaudiMac
Mar 16, 2009, 09:07 AM
I would suggest that the average Emirati and Qatari could easily afford the iPhone without even noticing they had spent the money. The average Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian would be a different case though.

Also to note that here all phones are SIM unlocked, not tied to any contract. The concept of a subsidized phone is new.

Nokia is the major phone here mainly because they were the first to support Arabic language. Every model from the $50 low end LCD to the $800 or so high end N96 is popular.

Some people here usually buy the phone after 6 months to get the latest model :p

Attonine
Mar 16, 2009, 09:53 AM
Also to note that here all phones are SIM unlocked, not tied to any contract. The concept of a subsidized phone is new.

Nokia is the major phone here mainly because they were the first to support Arabic language. Every model from the $50 low end LCD to the $800 or so high end N96 is popular.

Some people here usually buy the phone after 6 months to get the latest model :p

This is true, and it's not uncommon for a Saudi to have several mobile phones, and all high end models. (I know because I am a University lecturer and have lost count of the times I've confiscated a phone only for another, then another to appear!). Phones are also bought from phone vendors, not service providers.

The Arabian Gulf is very much like Europe, in that it has the GCC and movement between the gulf states is free for citizens of those states. Gulf Arabs like to travel between these states, and to travel frequently. The result is they will often have sim cards for various countries, if they visit often enough. It is not unusual for someone living in Dammam or the surrounding area to have a Bahraini sim and just pop it into their phone when they cross to Bahrain for the weekend. The same is true for those living on the northern border who often have Kuwaiti sim cards. So buying a locked phone is just pointless.

I know pretty much all of my students seem to have a fist full of sim cards that they are always switching. I have no idea what they are up to.


However, this has nothing to do with why there is no Arabic language support.

thejadedmonkey
Mar 16, 2009, 10:55 AM
However, this has nothing to do with why there is no Arabic language support.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Apple still doesn't fully support Right to Left languages.

SaudiMac
Mar 17, 2009, 06:17 AM
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Apple still doesn't fully support Right to Left languages.
it's not that Apple has to put the apple menu on the right. Microsoft is not doing a good job with that.

The reason Apple isn't fully supporting languages like Arabic, etc is the very small market share. It would increase if iPods display Arabic and not boxed characters. Yes, a chicken or egg question :rolleyes:

SaudiMac
Mar 18, 2009, 04:11 AM
Arabic is finally supported in iPhone OS 3.0 (http://www.saudimac.com/2009/03/18/arabic-officially-on-the-iphone/)!

Not sure if they added Greek though.