Apple gears up for UK iPhone launch; mum is no longer the word

U.S. readers look away. UK readers rejoice.

iphone_uk_mum.pngApple has sent out invitations for a special press event to be held next Tuesday at the company’s flagship store in London. The email carries the cryptic message “mum is no longer the word”, suggesting that a previously kept secret will be no more. Our guess, along with Reuters and just about every everybody else, is that Apple will reveal its plans for the UK launch of the iPhone, including carrier details and pricing.

Of course, “mum” may already no longer be the word, if the UK iPhone’s carrier turns out to Spanish Telefonica’s O2 , as everybody suspects it is. Why else would O2 CEO Peter Erskine be talking up Apple’s insistence on sharing call and data revenue with operators.

“If sharing revenue brings a bigger pie to the table, then we’ll be happy to share that pie… The revenue-sharing model will play an increasingly important role in the future of converged communications”, Erskine told The Times.

Would O2 really be this forgiving of Apple’s attempts to wrestle control away from carriers if it wasn’t going to be the iPhone’s exclusive UK distributor?

So by early next week, I’m likely to know where and at what price I can finally get my hands on an iPhone. But do I still want one? I’ve had since January for Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ famous Reality Distortion Field to start wearing off — which it is — and together with last week’s iPod Touch announcement, I’m less and less inclined to switch to an iPhone and have to go through the hassle of changing carriers and tariffs. Then of course there is the lack of 3G — a potential deal breaker in itself.

If mum is no longer the word, could it be Auntie?

BBC logoIn the comments section over at MacFormat, there’s lots of speculation on what Apple will announce at Tuesday’s event, including that it won’t be iPhone-related after all. While I think that’s unlikely, my favorite alternative interpretation of Apple’s cryptic “mum is no longer the word” message, is that it refers to content from the BBC — the public service broadcaster is often affectionately called “Auntie” — coming to iTunes!

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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