iPhone UK: The news so far

Steve Jobs, Apple and Matthew Key, CEO, O2

[Above: Steve Jobs, Apple and Matthew Key, CEO, O2]

So here are the basics about the iPhone launch in the UK, as announced by Steve Jobs in London. It was a pretty utilitarian affair with a predictable demo by Jobs of the iPhone’s features, an announcement about the carrier, a chat from the O2 CEO and some Q&A. Almost everything was predicted beforehand, except the rather clever idea behind O2’s service which will see it partner with European-wide WiFi network The Cloud to bundle in access for iPhone customers and the fact that the iPhone will switch seamlessly onto those Wifi nodes.

• Apple’s iPhone will go on sale to UK customers on November 9.

• The handset, which will be available exclusively to O2 customers, will cost £269 – more than the $399 (£200) that it costs in the US. Users will have to sign an 18-month contract priced at either £35, £45, or £55 depending on the call package, but this covers “unlimited” per month usage across O2’s network and 7,500 WiFi hotspots managed by The Cloud.

• 02 has partnered with independent retailer Carphone Warehouse to sell the phone, giving Apple 1300 points of distribution in total, covering 90% of the UK population.

• Every store will have an iPhone expert in store. And there will be a dedicated care centre for iPhone customers.

• O2 has fired up its netwrok with the slower Edge technology (as against Europe’s love affair with HSDPA) to accomodate the iPhone.

• There is no 3G iPhone as yet because, as Jobs said at the launch, the “The trade off with 3G [in battery life] is too bad right now.”

• In the UK the iPhone will look for the fastest network and seamlessley switch to it. (That sounds different to how it operates in the US?).

• No Starbucks iTunes music Store in the UK as yet.

• O2 has 5.5 million customers and their in-house research says 80% of their high value customers want an iPhone and 40% of other network’s customers said they would switch carrier to get the iPhone.