As expected, Apple’s special London press event was dedicated to the UK launch of the iPhone. With around one hundred journalists gathered at the company’s flagship Regent Street store, CEO Steve Jobs — joined by O2 UK boss Matthew Key (no surprise there) — gave full details of the device’s UK pricing and carrier details.
- The iPhone will go on sale in the UK on November the 9th (customers can pre-register their interest).
- UK price for the device is £269 (inc. tax)
- O2 will be the carrier, with Carphone Warehouse partnering for retail
- Tariffs will start at £35, which all include “unlimited” mobile data usage — 18 month contract
- No 3G, the UK iPhone uses EDGE for data, exactly the same as the U.S. version
- iTunes WiFi store comes to the UK by the end of the month
One more thing…
While almost all of the details above were pre-leaked, there was one surprise. UK iPhone customers will get free access to 7,000 public WiFi spots throughout the country — provided by The Cloud.
Mike Butcher, over at TechCrunch UK “live”-blogged the event, including coverage of a short Q&A session in which Jobs fielded questions from the press.
On the lack of 3G support, Jobs explained:
“No 3g because 3G chipsets are very power hungry and our phone has a battery life of 8Hrs. That’s really important when you start to use the Net or listen to music. You won’t listen to music if you are afraid of losing your phone.
The 5+ hour range for a 3G phone will be the suitable level. We hope to see that late next year. The trade off with 3G is too bad right now.
We found that Edge is great for most things like Mail, Google Maps. The one thing you’d like faster is Web. So we built in WiFi to the iPhone to address that.
So we’ve kind’ve sandwiched 3G between Edge and WiFi.”
I’m inclined to agree with Jobs on this one. Having used a 3G Nokia 61, for over a year now, to surf and listen to the odd podcast as well as make calls, I can’t imagine how I would juggle limited battery life if it was used as a full iPod too. Talking of which, it will interesting to see how the UK iPhone will compete with the new iPod Touch. Priced at £269, UK customers might well opt for the Touch, which at the same price gives you twice the storage, albeit without the smartphone capabilities. It’s a tough call (no pun intended) and one that I intend to make in the next few weeks.
Photo credit: Mike Butcher/TechCrunch UK