My iPhone Knows I am in Hong Kong. How?

Has my iPhone evolved into a sentient being? Am I in the middle of a campy Star Trek episode where Data is trying to figure out what it “means” to be human?

I brought my iPhone with me to China so I could listen to music and flip through the albums with my fingers because it is cool rather than functional. But upon landing in Hong Kong, I got this SMS message: “Welcome to PEOPLE’S Hong Kong! Calling home / other countries? Dial <001> .” You can zoom in to the maximum size to see the message yourself.

I thought this AT&T thing only worked in the US. That’s what the man said to us, but now I have reasons to doubt the man.

How does my iPhone know I am in Hong Kong? A few weeks ago at a lunch with Will, we put our iPhones very close to one another on the table while we ordered our food. We were hoping that perhaps they would mate and spawn a third iPhone. But maybe what really happened is my iPhone started to learn from Will’s iPhone. I don’t know what it could have learned, other than how to dress conservatively and part your hair in such as way as to make you look one-quarter inch taller, but that does not explain the Hong Kong Recognition Enigma.

Perhaps my iPhone is confused and thinks I am Steve Jobs because I sometimes wear all black in speak like a vainglorious huckster. I cannot say for sure, but I will continue to explore what happens to the iPhone in various countries.

The pic up there on my Apple is the one I took of Hong Kong from The Peak on the previous night… Here is a link the full size.

My iPhone Knows I am in Hong Kong.  How?

  • Welcome to the collective.

  • David

    I know some countries will send you a text message when you enter it, that’s more likely what happened. Did the clock automatically set itself? If it didn’t, it’s not the iphone that knows…

    Also, watch out for roaming charges, I just read a thing where some guy got charged $3000 for using the iphone outside of the US.

  • when you roam onto a foreign network, they’ll send you a text message to let you know most of the time. If you’ve had a data connection at any time since you got to Hong Kong, the time will have been updated by either the network or Apple’s clock-setting thing.

    As David said, be really vigilant with your usage. Probably best to disable data accounts if you’re not going to be using them as you’ll get charged through the nose for any usage

  • I’m with Jasper. Whenever I travel with my GSM phone, I get a message from the network I’m roaming on to say “Hey! Welcome to our ridiculously ginormous roaming fees! Have fun and be poor!”


  • Shaun

    before you do too much, check out this article on iphone international roaming charges on “consumerist”

  • Christine

    I have a triband american phone with AT&T, and live in europe. everytime i enter a new country, the carrier name changes and i get 146 text messages from at&t, and the european carrier they’re piggybacking. it’s annoying and hela expensive – did you see the article on boingboing from the guy who received a $3k phone bill form being overseas?

  • haha yes – I did see that – thanks!

  • Barry

    It also could have picked up a wifi signal and gotten info from that to know where you are.

  • Dan

    Welcome to the international GSM roaming system!

  • erm, isn’t that why they call it the “jesusphone”
    I hear the monks singing now……ahhhhhhhh

  • Rishi Gajria

    Have you had any issues with your IPhone? There have been some issues with the screen not responding.

  • i see that you have a 17 mbp.

    glossy or matte?

  • Thanks all – no the Iphone is great…

    This one is the glossy one

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  • spacebar

    Wow. Nice wallpaper. U took it? 🙂 Else where can I get it?

  • Phone idiot

    you’re stupid… whenever you travel into China/Macau/HK you’ll get a welcome sms to tell you some news/emergency no/etc. it’s the network that detects it, not the phone!

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  • J

    Its call roaming as iphone work with gsm networks. you got sms said welcome u to roam on a new network as your sim card belong to another country. Its not the phone know where you are! It work with any phone. why americans are so stupid??

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  • Hmm… i really can’t imagine that you are not aware of the roaming function you have on your carier. i am sure your bill will be a bomb when you come to learn about it…daniel

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