The iPhone is currently available in a number of Middle Eastern countries, but oddly enough, it still isn’t officially supported in Israel, a country known for its advanced high-tech industry. That, however, hasn’t stopped the iPhone from becoming a prized, and often smuggled, device in the holy land where markups on the device can result in prices approaching $1000.
During its special media event earlier this week, Apple noted that the iPhone is poised to launch in even more countries in 2009, and if the iPhone 3.0 OS is any indication, Israel appears to be one of the countries on the list. For the first time, there is a Hebrew language option buried in the settings pane of the International menu. Unless Apple just wanted to do a favor for all the Israeli’s currently running jailbroken iPhones, it’s a good bet that an official Israeli launch is inevitable, and might coincide with the next iteration of the iPhone, which is presumably scheduled to launch in June.
Also of note is that Arabic language support is finally available in the new iPhone OS 3.0. As mentioned earlier, the iPhone is already available in a number of Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt, and most recently, Saudi Arabia. While iPhone sales in these countries have been robust, one significant problem has been the iPhone’s lack for native Arabic support. Thus, iPhone users in the Middle East haven’t been able to send or receive text messages in Arabic, and websites in Arabic won’t render correctly either. That seems bound to change when the new iPhone 3.0 software update drops sometime this Summer.