So, Apple has finally announced the details for the iPhone launch in the UK.
In a nutshell it’s £269 (as predicted by myself on 5 September), with a £35, £45 or £55 per-month contract, unlimited internet* is included on all service plans – which means that the differentiating factor will be inclusive text and call time.
There’s a fair usage account of 1,400 pages per day, which is some serious finger tapping. A Macworld challenge for the new year might be to attempt to breach it, just to see what happens. Probably a warning letter from o2 to seek professional and medical help.
On the downside there’s no 3G support, which means you’ll have to choose between being an early adopter that gets an iPhone in November, and waiting till the second generation model with 3G is launched (sometime early next year if predictions are correct). Not as big a sting as the recent price-drop that hit US customers, but still worthy of consideration.
That’s a tough call, made even tougher by the utilisation of the Edge network, which will only have 30 per cent UK coverage when the iPhone launches from O2 in a month’s time. That’s good news for those of us who live in London (except for when we visit our families out in the sticks; but pretty rubbish for everybody else).
When you’re in an area with no Edge support you will – I believe – have access to the internet via the unfeasibly slow GPRS system.
The upshot of this is that outside of a WiFi zone you’ll be pretty much limited to email and messaging on the iPhone. Although Steve Jobs did claim that the eminently useful Google Maps functions very well under Edge, and it may also do so under GPRS.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and in this case it’s The Cloud that’s suddenly revealed it’s worth.
Subscribing to The Cloud gives you pan European WiFi access at over 7,500 HotSpots. These include whole areas such as Canary Wharf and City Of London, venues such as football clubs (Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea); public transport links (First Great Western Trains, BAA, Liverpool John Lennon Airport); and hotel, cafes and restaurants (Best Western, Holiday Inn, Inn Keepers Lodge, Espresso House and last – but certainly not least – McDonalds).
Click here for a more complete list of locations.
A subscription to The Cloud network (formally £11.99 per month) is included with every price plan with the iPhone. Sure, it’ll be included with all o2 service plans for other phones too, but it lends credence to Steve Jobs’ assertion that WiFi is the best way forward for mobile internet access.
The only disappointment in today's announcement was the 9 November launch date. It's been a while since Steve Jobs said: "and it's on sale now" and – even though we'd heard the rumour of a November launch – deep down I wanted to walk out of the Apple Store with my own iPhone.