Monday, September 10, 2007

iPhone next week in Europe? Wait for Carphone Warehouse

Since NewsWireless first leaked a news of the 3G iPhone back in June, the world has been full of rival rumours, most of which have predicted that Orange and O2 plus T-Mobile will launch the product on September 16th. There looks to be a genuine story behind that - but it won't be the 3G iPhone. Instead, it looks like the iPhone sales in the US have slowed down - and so there is stock for European dumping.

There's widespread prediction this weekend that September 16th will mark the European launch, with guesses that this will be the 3G model. Sadly, though there may well be an announcement, it almost certainly won't be the wideband CDMA (WCDMA) 3G version.

The giveaway detail in the latest news - rumours of a T-Mobile advert for next weekend - is the lack of any mention of Carphone Warehouse, which is key to Apple's European distribution plans.

The original plan expected a million North American sales of the original "EDGE" technology iPhone to be announced back in early July.

At first, that looked highly achievable. Our sources reported huge sales in the first week, and predicted that the Euro iPhone would be revealed to the distributors as a 3G HSDPA phone, just one week after launch. That story named Vodafone as the prime carrier, and Carphone Warehouse as the high street outlet for Europe.

But the date for the announcement came and went, and no word was heard from Apple's German HQ, where the contract was being negotiated.

At that point, rumours multiplied, leaving most observers baffled in their search for the truth. Subsequently, authoritative Financial Times stories predicted that Apple had swung a deal with Orange for France, T-Mobile for Germany, and O2 for the UK. And there, most commentators left it, pending further official announcements.

What has thrown the market for new rumours into action again, is Apple's unpredicted major price cut for the North American iPhone - an announcement tucked away in the small print of the launch of the iTouch (an iPhone without the phone).

Naturally, the price cut infuriated those who already bought at the original high price. Steve Jobs has offered oil on the troubled water:

"We have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week. Stay tuned."


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