Monday, September 28, 2009

The UK's coming iPhone mania

Today, officially, we had confirmed what had long been predestined, predicted and overdue. The O2 network's monopoly on the iPhone has been broken:
Orange's success in breaking into O2's exclusive deal to stock the iPhone is expected to lead to a Christmas price war with the cost of the Apple handset coming down for UK consumers. It is also likely to be available from at least one more mobile phone operator, with Vodafone also understood to be close to signing a deal with Apple, though it may not have the device in time for Christmas. Executives at Vodafone, which stocks the iPhone in just under a dozen countries, have long maintained that they would like to get their hands on it in the UK.
For the record, the current O2 pricing is:
The basic 8GB version of the handset currently costs £96.89 for a customer willing to pay £29.38 a month under an 18-month contract, but is free for anyone willing to spend £44.05 a month for the same period. The largest 32GB device is £274.23 at £29.38 a month over 18 months and free only for someone willing to pay £73.41 a month over two years. This makes the total cost of the phones between £625.73 and £792.90 for the basic phone over 18 months, and between £803.07 and £1,761.84 for the 32GB phone over 18 months.
Ouch! To help the odd transatlantic reader here, that means the top of the range 3GS costs a mere $2,800 over an eighteen month lock-in (which also denies a couple of iterations of up-grading).

More to the point, it seems that Orange and any other network buying in do so without Apple taking a share of the revenue.

What is happening, of course, is that the iPhone market has matured considerably. None of the competitors have managed to match the appeal and salescraft of Apple's prestige model. The constabularies of the UK would tell us that on thefts alone. As a result, the advertising for the iP{hone has changed: it no longer features the hardware, but it sells (very successfully) the associated applications.

So, chuck this into the admixture:
Apple's App Store is home to some 85,000 applications as of Monday, and the company claims that over two billion apps have been downloaded by iPhone and iPod touch users so far.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented "The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone."

The App Store is Apple's online service where iPhone and iPod touch owners can find and download third party applications for their handheld. The store is home to games, productivity applications, social networking apps, business tools, and more.

Apple's App Store launched in July 2009 and had already seen 1.5 billion application downloads by its first anniversary only two months ago.
That's one entire story from, today.

If it were not for the Apple habit of over-pricing (to retain the prestige image), Steve Jobs could probably do a King C. Gillette (he's the one you didn't recognise at the head of the post), give away the iPhone and collect on the apps.

In passing, the iPhone is the one bit of Apple kit that Malcolm neither has nor covets. Sphere: Related Content

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