The news that Apple hasn’t shoehorned 3G into the UK iPhone will disappoint many people here, even if it wasn’t a huge surprise (not least because if the company had, can you imagine the backlash from iPhone users in the US?)
At the launch this morning, Steve Jobs said battery life is what’s stopping Apple releasing a 3G iPhone, with the claim that a 3G model’s talktime would be cut to 2-3 hours, rather than Apple’s preferred 5+. Instead, Jobs talked up the faster speed of Wi-Fi surfing, and offered us Brits the carrot of a deal with Wi-Fi hotspot provider The Cloud for free access through its 7,500 UK hotspots.
Check out The Cloud’s list of locations: its partners include McDonalds, football clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, and most intriguingly its hotspots covering the whole of Canary Wharf and the City Of London (note to non-cockneys: that means the square mile of financial district, not the ENTIRE capital).
It remains to be seen whether Wi-Fi iTunes Store goodness with your Big Mac’n’Fries or football makes up for slower EDGE surfing when not in range of a hotspot. But the City Of London deal means, in theory, that you’ll be able to sit down anywhere in the financial district and get blazing Wi-Fi speeds on your iPhone.
Also included on The Cloud’s network are BAA airports (that’s all the big ones then), Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels, and Espresso House coffee bars. What it doesn’t include is Starbucks, which is a big enough shock to be worth a separate post.