Sure it has a lovely touch screen, and yes the battery life is so much better than those juice-hungry 3G phones and of course it’ll play back the three tracks you legally downloaded via iTunes one slightly half-cut evening. But as half of America’s geeks brave rubbish Steve Jobs impersonators, Microsoft staff bearing gifts and hordes of gadget bloggers (hi Susi), the question back in Blighty is – would you pay £300 for an iPhone.
At the moment after seeing all those impressive ads and witnessing the hoopla surrounding the launch I can’t help but think I want one and this from a Nokia die-hard who spent most of the first part of 2007 dreaming about the impending arrival of the N95. But come the chilly winds of February – come on folks get real given Apple’s previous form it is going to be late – will I really be stumping up £300 for an iPhone? Mmm.
Of course in the UK we have been spoilt. People very rarely pay proper money for phones as they are all subsidised so heavily. You can bet too that whatever comes next from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG et al will also be massively subsidised by the makers to keep market share.
So are gadget lovers really going to shell out their own money when they will probably be able to get the Nokia N99 complete with HSDPA, loads of storage, GPS and, knowing Nokia, a very impressive touch screen to rival the iPhone? Don’t think so.
For the time being the iPhone will be a niche play largely bought by Apple diehards who have to own anything with the brand on it. This is largely because the price will be high and Apple probably won’t be able to make enough iPhones to satisfy the demands of devoted British Macsters let along anyone else.
But just as the first gen iPods were revolutionary, but, ahem a bit rubbish (remember the dreadful batteries?) but then got much much better. So it will be with the iPhone.
Ultimately I believe the future of mobile hangs on two things – 1 Integration of all those wonderful web 2.0 apps we love so much – but on steroids as they can be personalised, localised and more. 2 Easy to use intuitive operating systems. And in the long run you wouldn’t bet against Apple getting both of those spot on.
So, in reality I think the UK launch of the iPhone in 2008 will be a much more sober affair, even if we do get the 3G version first. And no I won’t be eBaying my Nokia and IPod to be able to grab one. You probably won’t too. But all those people talking about the start of a new era for mobiles really are on to something. Over to you Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG.
Well that’s my take. What do you think?
Excited about the iPhone? Don’t forget to bookmark Tech Digest’s iPhone Launch Liveblog then, which will be covering the launch from 8pm GMT tonight.