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iGeeks await £899 iPhone launch

19 сентября 2007

UK consumers will at last be able to get their hands on Apple’s keenly awaited iPhone handset from November 9 – but it will cost £899 including connection fees and will not work on high-speed 3G networks. Apple said O2, the largest mobile operator in the UK, would be its exclusive British network for the device.

The launch of the telephone-cum-music player, with touch-screen web browsing, will be Apple’s first foray into the European mobile telephone market.
The company is expected to launch similar deals this week with Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany.
Apple have sold more than 1m iPhones in the US since the device was launched at the end of June.
However, many believe Apple could have a tougher time in Europe, with many mobile users having become accustomed to 3G mobile networks.
“It is going to be problematic that the iPhone is not on 3G. Almost 20 per cent of UK subscribers have a 3G handset, and you will be effectively asking them to downgrade their experience,” said Paul Goode, an analyst at M:Metrics, the research group.
Steve Jobs, who gave details of the launch at a low-key event at Apple’s flagship Regent Street store in London, said the iPhone would not have 3G capability at launch, as 3G chips drain the battery too quickly.
However, O2 will allow iPhone users to access 7,500 wi-fi hotspots across the country operated by The Cloud, which will allow them to browse the internet and download music very quickly in areas such as cafés, railway stations and airports.
“It may help in urban areas,” said Joss Gillet, an analyst at Ovum. “But coverage from The Cloud will not help in rural areas, for example. Wi-fi is a very special usage case.” Apple is also likely to face tougher competition from handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson, which do not have a big presence in the US but whose high-end music phones are often heavily subsidised by European mobile operators.
The iPhone, in contrast, will cost £269, and customers will have to sign an 18-month contract with O2 costing between £35 and £55 a month, which would equate to a minimum of £899 over the period.
The iPhone is available for $399 (£200) in the US. It was sold for $599 at the US launch in June but Apple cut the price this month.
Nevertheless, analysts expect there to be an initial flurry of interest when the device goes on sale.
“On November 8 there will be ‘iGeeks’ waiting outside the Apple store on Regent Street with their sleeping bags and their flasks of coffee, queuing to buy a device,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.
“There will be a big surge of interest in the beginning but, after that, there will be some difficulty in sustaining demand in the face of very credible competition.”

Источник: Financial Times

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