Apple

iPhone hype hits UK

The long awaited iPhone hit the UK market on Friday; over 300 people queued outside Apple's central London store for the launch. The first unit was bought by 20-year-old student Tom Jasinski who had been waiting in line for 26 hours. He told one BBC reporter, "It was worth the wait... It is a great piece of hardware. It is a great thing and I love it." Over 1300 stores in the UK are selling the iPhone with customers limited to two each — would anyone really want more than that anyway?!?

Remaining true to Apple's style, the iPhone has been massively hyped over the past few weeks. But once all the hype dies down will the iPhone be a hit with UK consumers who generally demand much more from mobile devices than consumers in the U.S.?

Generally ‘premium' handsets are free with a new mobile phone contract. A lot of people will have an existing contract but pay to ‘upgrade' their handset at a subsidised price. You can also pay full retail price for the handset, put in your SIM, and pay as you go. This is not possible with the iPhone, which costs £269 for the handset plus a compulsory 18 month contract (£35pcm minimum) giving a total cost of £899, which is pretty steep.

The 2-megapixel camera without a flash is not good for much. People make extensive use of still and video capture on their mobile phones. The latest offerings from Nokia and Sony Ericsson both come with autofocus 5-megapixel cameras and a xenon flash.

If there's no Wi-Fi available the second-generation iPhone is horribly slow. I think third-generation connectivity is essential for stress-free mobile Internet use. Apple said they couldn't get 3G technology in such a slim device; I'm not sure they really tried.

With Christmas coming up I think the iPhone should sell well. Personally I'll pass. I can stick with Sony Ericsson for now and wait to see what the second generation iPhone will have to offer.

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