April 7, 2010
Canadian gadget lovers know by now the frustration of content restrictions thanks to our .ca geocode. When the Kindle crossed the border it took weeks for popular Canadian titles to make their way here, too. The solution some turned to, then as now, was to create a U.S. account and dodge the download barriers.
Why? Maybe you're an iPad early adopter
The iPad hasn't been sold in any Canadian stores yet, but already some Apple geeks have smuggled in their own tablet of goodness. Then they discovered certain apps just aren't available with a Canadian iTunes account.
Take the very interesting content-driven apps available on the U.S. store, such as iBooks, the ABC Player and Pandora. Some apps are geo-blocked, such as the ABC Player and Netflix, but GlobeTechnology reviewers were able to buy and download books from iBooks after getting a U.S. account.
TV shows Canadians can't download
Let's say you want to download the latest episodes award-winning American shows like Damages, or Breaking Bad? Searching for them doesn't even bring up a result in my iPhone. The same goes for some rare albums, songs or b-sides.
App promo codes you can't access
Some developers release codes you can enter into iTunes to get a free download of a paid app. Take the Glow Board, this iPad app sells for $1.99, it sure looks pretty but without a U.S. account you can't get it for free (even though this guy is doing his best to give you a code that will download it gratis). There are hundreds of promotions to access via tweets, calls, e-mail or even just registering for codes, but as a Canadian you won't be able to access most of them.
Sold. How do I create my account?
Globetechnology reviewed the iPad earlier this week using a pre-paid MasterCard purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart and created a U.S. iTunes account with a new Gmail address and a U.S. mailing address we grabbed randomly on Google Maps (some people who have done this advise picking states without sales taxes, such as Oregon, Montana or Alaska).
Apple helpfully provides a walkthrough on how to do this, just enter "your" U.S. data when asked. Now you can download all the content you want from the Home of the Brave, and you can switch seemlessly to the account you set up here in the True North Strong and Free. Plus, your device doesn't care where the apps, songs or shows come from, it will play them all (there are exceptions, such as Pandora, and probably also the upcoming Hulu iPad app that detects your location. However, if you're travelling to the U.S., this will work just fine).
The Ebay way
Some content hunters have used another option for getting access to U.S. iTunes to buy paid apps. They bought a U.S. dollar iTunes voucher from eBay or Craigslist. Fraud experts advise against buying a card that is marketed for significantly less than the face value, but once you have a good code (they can even just send you the numerical id instead of the actual card) redeem it into your U.S. account.
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