A year ago I decided to see whether I could get by with an iPod touch as a PDA. On the whole, that worked out pretty well. An additional benefit was that it let me stall for a while on my inevitable iPhone purchase. The lack of 3G network connectivity has hurt (it turns out I was quite over-optimistic about how easy it would be to get by with WiFi alone), and many times I've thought how cool geo-location would be (or, at least, reliable geo-location—sometimes the iPod knows roughly where it is), but on the upside I feel pretty good about denying Telstra 12 months of utterly obscene data charges.
About two months ago, I snapped and went on an expedition to buy an iPhone. It proved challenging. At last count, I think I had my name down on waiting lists at no fewer than five Telstra retail stores. On Monday, I, uh, snapped again—logged on to the online Apple Store, ordered a phone, and it was delivered the next day. (Of course, it wasn't really delivered the next day, so much as a courier dropped by my house when I wasn't at home, and I picked it up from the depot myself the day after that. But that's another rant.) I don't know what kind of supplier-retail dynamic is really going on there, but clearly there is stock, though apparently Telstra stores can't get any of it. (As an inevitable post-script, I got a call from a Telstra store the day my iPhone was delivered to tell me they had one for me. You couldn't make this up.)
It turns out that, despite my skepticism, changing over from an older GSM phone to a 3G phone really is a simple matter of turning up at a Telstra shop and getting a new SIM card. I also signed up for some data, though I literally can't bring myself to admit how much, nor how much I paid for it. Needless to say, it hurt.