Apple has finally announced details of the iPhone’s UK launch. As expected, O2 is the exclusive operator partner, and the handset will cost £269 on this side of the pond when it goes on sale on 9th November.
“We picked the best one, the most popular carrier, it’s O2,” said Steve Jobs at the launch, although he didn’t mention if the rumours about Apple trousering 40% of O2’s voice and data revenues from the device were true. If so, they might have been a teeny tiny factor in the decision.
Carphone Warehouse is part of the deal too, in terms of selling iPhones. O2 will be offering three tariffs for the iPhone at £35, £45 and £55 on an 18-month contract. That includes unlimited data over O2’s EDGE network, so sorry folks, no 3G. O2 has signed a deal to give free access to 7,500 of The Cloud’s Wi-Fi hotspots to soften the blow, though.
So why no 3G? Steve Jobs (yes, he was at the launch) said it’s because “the 3G chipsets are real power hogs”, and claimed that Apple won’t launch a 3G iPhone until you can get a talktime of five or more hours (“something we think we’ll see later next year”).
Hang on a minute though: O2 confirmed at the launch that when the iPhone goes on sale, itwill only have 30% of its EDGE network rolled out, so presumably it’ll be GPRS speeds in the other 70% of the UK presumably. Ouch.
Some good quotes from Jobs too, who was on comedy form. iPod Touch won’t cannibalise iPhone sales: it’s “training wheels” for the iPhone. And apparently shopping around for operator partners is like going out on dates before you get married: “Yeah, we have a few upset girlfriends out there.”
Incidentally, the Apple UK Store is back online now, with a signup page to get updates on the iPhone (but no way to actually order one yet)