Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared in London Sept. 18 to officially roll out his companys iPhone in the United Kingdom.
Speaking at the Regent Street Apple Store, Jobs said the iPhone will be available starting Nov. 9 and will work exclusively on the O2 wireless telephone network. In response to later questions, Jobs said that iPhone service may be introduced in other European countries by the next quarter.
The UK iPhone hardware shows no substantial change from the U.S. version. It retains the same software features—e-mail, the Safari Web browser, SMS, iPod functionality—and uses EDGE and Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity. The last will also allow access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, which U.S. iPhone users cannot yet use, though iPod Touch owners can.
Jobs defended the UK iPhones lack of 3G capabilities. Adding 3G with existing technology, he said, would compromise the iPhones battery life. It would also require large engineering costs to develop and maintain a different hardware version, though Jobs did not mention that.
He, with O2s CEO Matthew Key, also pointed out that O2 offers about 7,500 Wi-Fi “hotspots” that iPhone users will be able to access for free. This is one advantage the UK version has over the one in the United States—AT&T does not have a similar free Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Buyers will be able to activate their iPhones through iTunes on their Macs or PCs, just as in the United States.
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