Needing to have the latest in iPhone? Although not an official launch by Apple or the three major cellular operator in the country, the iPhone 5 – UNLOCKED – can now be purchased in Costa Rica. And at only US$1.100.

Located in San Francisco de Dos Rios, on the east side of San José, Techmania Costa Rica, by way of Facebook is offering the latest Apple mobile device.

Though the price for an iPhone5 16GB may seem high, but not really when compared to the US$199 in the United States, considering that you don’t have to sign any contract with a provider and can install any SIM chip and just about used it anywhere in the world.

The consider this, in Costa Rica an iPhone 4S – one model behind – costs ¢337.880 (US$682) and with a monthly mininum service at ¢22.500 (US$45) at Movistar.

Over at Kolbi, the mobile communications arm of the state Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), they will be offering only the iPhone 4 8GB – two models behind – very soon . Claro is not offering the iPhone.

Why would anyone in their right mind pay such a price?
For any tech junkie that is not even a question, it is just a matter of having the latest. And if one is in Costa Rica, direct purchases from Apple is not an option, as Apple will only sell with a carrier plan. And then the phones are locked, that is they restricted from being used on another carrier during the term of the contract.

So what’s the big deal with the 5?
The 5 is the sixth generation of the iPhone and arguably the best smartphone on the market, with its custom-designed ARMv7 processor called the Apple A6, an update to Apple’s mobile operating system known as iOS 6, and support for LTE.

For any iPhone junkie will know that there the three game in 3 and 3S and the fourth in 4 and 4S, so if you add up, the first was the iPhone, then came the iPhone 3, the iPhone 3S, the iPhone4, the iPhone4S, so that makes the 5 the sixth.

The 5 was introduced on September 12, 2012. After Apple began taking pre-orders on September 14, 2012, over two million were received within 24 hours

Apple emphasized the improved build quality of the iPhone 5 at its press event. The frame used in previous versions was redesigned to use an aluminum composite frame, which allows the phone to resist shattering more effectively than the previous stainless steel design, but scratches easily. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S used stainless steel instead of aluminium due to Steve Jobs’ preference for the metal which he thought, “looks beautiful when it wears”.

he decision to use aluminium however, generated complaints of scratches being observed on and easily inflicted upon the chassis of the iPhone 5, causing Apple to respond that this was normal for aluminium products.[45]

All versions of the iPhone 5 are 18% thinner, 20% lighter, and have 12% less overall volume than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. The phone’s aluminum body is 0.30 in (7.6 mm) thick. Apple at the conference claims it is the thinnest smartphone in the world at 7.6 mm, though that claim has been disputed as the Oppo Finder is thinner and some other smartphones can be considered to be thinner, depending upon where thickness is measured. The Oppo Finder measures 6.65 mm at its thinnest point and 7.1 mm at its thickest point making it overall thinner than the iPhone.

JP Morgan’s chief economist, Michael Ferol said that “sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualized US GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate.”

Techcrunch reported that the iPhone 5 sold out twenty times faster than the 4 and 4S models. Apple said that they were “blown away by the customer response”. Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice-president of worldwide marketing, said that over two million iPhone 5 orders had been received in the first 24 hours. AT&T said that the iPhone 5 was the fastest-selling iPhone the company had ever offered, selling over five million units on launch weekend. The release and sale of the iPhone 5 has also slowed down the growth of Android according to market share reports released by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Having to have the latest
For iPhone junkies all that is great, but there is another reason as to why, and it is a Costa Rican thing: being the first with something new.

For the record we estimate only several dozen iPhone5’s in Costa Rica. We don’t know the exact number, only base our estimate on the fact that one major retailer sold out its only lot of 50 it brought in last month and the few that have been purchased – unlocked from the factory – and have been brought it.

Techmania, for now, is the only commercial retailer of the iPhone5 we know of. Many will soon come.

This article was not paid for or sponsored by Techmania.