opus

jc


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iPhone, from a UK perspective
opus
jc
You may or may not remember that iPhone had its UK premiere on Friday. It's more than likely you didn't, and I wouldn't blame you. O2, the exclusive UK carrier, had the marketing idea of the century when it decided to launch not at 6pm, but at 6:02pm, no doubt ensuring some clever promotions bod a raise. And to be fair, you had your queues outside some stores, Apple's in particular. (This one in Birmingham, for example.)

Germany launched at 12:01am, a good 16 hours before the UK. I remember reading an early BBC News report where T-Mobile proclaimed 10,000 units sold on the first day. Ten thousand. Um, yeah. Nothing to write home about, really.

Which is why I'm really not surprised at the lacklustre reception the UK gave iPhone on a whole. Hell, The Register went all out, their article carrying the post slug iphone_uk_flop. It paints a really depressing picture of how badly the hype surrounding iPhone was mishandled in the run-up to Friday's launch, and how desperate the UK press was to capture scenes similar to those played out in the States back in June.

Well, guess what: five months have passed already. Anyone who was really bent on owning an iPhone bought one and unlocked it for use in the UK, even before Apple got its act together and signed up O2. Competitors such as Nokia and Samsung used the time to release genuine iPhone alternatives, which I assume are selling well. O2 did its best in coming up with a range of contracts that made iPhone affordable, and failed. (Perhaps helped by the miserable exchange rate these days, the cheapest £35/mo contract is equivalent to USD$70/mo.) And in that five months, Apple itself went and produced iPod touch, and made it immediately available to Europe as well as the US.

Oh, and it rained on Friday. Bad move, God. As I could well have predicted, this lethal combination of factors caused stampedes to bear down on every one of the 1,000+ UK stores selling iPhones.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of people who will buy an iPhone. But in the UK, there are lots more who won't, and this shows how different the market for mobile phones is in the UK compared to the US. As The Register rightly points out, Ian Ferguson said it best on Slashdot: we're used to paying for phone or for contract, but not both; and we're used to 3G browsing, which is far more prevalent in the UK than Stateside. Ian still thinks iPhone will be a runaway success on these shores, but I don't think that'll happen quite yet.

And I still ain't getting one.

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I wouldn't buy one either, but did you get yourself a Touch when you were in London?

Nah. Maybe later this week. Maybe.

Mainly I need to buy a new camera to replace the one they thieved from me.

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