After the "big" Apple event beginning of March where the iPhone SDK was announced I decided that I waited long enough. I had been patient for 9 months since the launch in the US and still there was no view any official launch in The Netherlands. No other option left then to get one directly from the US. With the current $-Euro exchange rate the price would be nice also (compared to prices in for example the UK, Germany and France).

Reading the title you may think: what happened in Take I? Well, it "disappeared" at DHL in The Netherlands because a gang of DHL employees was steeling iPhones. Not quite what you'd expect from a shipper like DHL. Rumors are that the gang managed to steel over a 100 iPhones that were shipped to NL. Some arrests have been done, but my iPhone did not turn up... probably already sold on eBay or something similar.

What to do?

Apple only ships to US addresses from the online Apple store, so what's the trick to get one when you're not living in the US? Obvious solution, get yourself a US address, have Apple ship the iPhone to that address and from there ship it to any place on earth. There are multiple companies in the US were you can 'rent' an address. I did it at and that worked out smoothly. For example, when the first iPhone got stolen they claimed the insurance money at DHL and within a week I had the money on my account. Thumbs up for  When 'renting' an address in the US, make sure it is a regular address and not a PO Box because Apple will not ship to PO Boxes.

Now that you have the address, order the iPhone on the Apple Store and have it shipped to your 'rented' address. You can use a non-US credit card for that. Apple will sent you a confirmation mail with a link to an order page. The moment the iPhone is on it's way to your US address, you can track it using the FedEx tracking website.

After it has arrived at your rented address, you request to ship the package to your home address. At you can specify shipment instructions like:

  • The shipper you'd want to use (I used FedEx the second time)
  • The amount for which the shipment should be insured. Given the experience I had with my first attempt I would definitely insure it for the full amount. It does pay of if things go bad. A slight disadvantage can be that 'customs' in your country is going to charge you more import taxes, but hey, that's better than loosing the shipment. (till now I have to received an invoice for import taxes but that may come later)
After that it took only 3 days before I had it in my hands. Ready to make the first call? Not yet, Apple still locks the iPhones down to their official operators so you have to use a tool like Ziphone to unlock it. This is a very simple and convenient process, simply press the button, wait ~ 4 minutes and done. While it is doing the unlocking it will reboot the iPhone a couple of times and you'll see all kinds of interesting message scroll over the iPhone screen. When done you can slide in your SIM and make your first call. Dead simple. Start having fun and install additional apps using the installed (installed by Ziphone), my current favorites are Twinkle (Twitter client) and Navizon (determines GPS coordinates using GSM and Wifi cells).

While the iPhone was traveling from China (they're manufactured there) to the US and to NL I recorded times and dates on a Google Map. Interesting to see the distance it traveled. The blue pinpoints and lines are the trip from China to the US, the green ones are the US to NL trip. If you look closely there is an optimization possible, on the flight from the China to the US and from the US to NL it passes through Memphis, renting an address in the Memphis area might save you an additional day...


  1. Gero said...

    The google map of your iPhones itinerary is great :) Have fun with your new toy, before you get the next (real) one to play with.
    Note: Comment imported. Original by Andreas Ebbert-Karroum ( email: website: ) at 2008-04-23 13:41  

  2. Reagan said...

    -another great company for this type of international forwarding service is

    For a one-time $5 fee you own your US address, not rented.
    BongoUS offers a few other added value services as well that I like, such as cheap insurance and free consolidation of shipments with a subscription.  

  3. james said...

    MyUS requires a monthly membership and Bongo will only offer Imaging Services if you sign up for their yearly subscription.

    I personally use . It's like having your own shopping address in the USA . Low rates, great service, super website and the fastest and most reliable shipping. Take a look at their demo here:  

  4. Anonymous said...

    There are many such companies like BongoUS, Viaddress, shipito, etc but from all my experience I have found bongo to be quite expensive, havent read any good reviews on viaddress but Shipit has the best cutomer reviews and they proved to be quite cheap compared to the others out thr!  

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