Ryuji Yamada, president of Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, recently suggested that the company is still interested in making a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone in Japan alongside previously announced Japanese carrier SoftBank. “It’s common sense that Apple wants to sell as many iPhones worldwide as possible and to customize it would be difficult,” Yamada, said in an interview. “Our stance on the iPhone remains flexible.” DoCoMo, which has been in negotiations with Apple to carry the iPhone, “hasn’t given up yet,” according to a statement made by Yamada on June 23. SoftBank will launch the iPhone 3G in Japan on July 11.
Following complaints from potential customers regarding the voice, text, and data limits on its previously announced iPhone 3G service plans, Swedish iPhone carrier Telia has revised its service offerings for the soon to be released handset. Instead of modifying the plans for the iPhone 3G, the carrier has chosen to allow users to pick from its existing plans for other mobile phones, then add a 199 SEK (roughly $33) unlimited data option. It remains to be seen whether other international iPhone carriers facing public scrutiny over their service plan pricing, such as Rogers in Canada, will follow suit and modify their plans to meet customer demand.
Optus, one of three Australian iPhone carriers, has revealed its plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G. Unlike most other carriers, Optus is offering the iPhone 3G to subscribers on a monthly payment basis, in lieu of taking one large upfront payment for the handset. The company will offer the iPhone 3G with two different lines of contract service plans. The company’s ‘yes’ Cap Plans offer a set amount of data, a credit amount used towards calls and texts which is much higher than the minimum monthly payment, and a national Call Rate of A$0.47 to A$0.35, depending on which Cap Plan the customer selects. Likewise, the monthly payment the customer must pay towards the cost of the iPhone 3G hardware varies based on the plan selected. All texts up to 160 characters cost A$0.25, which is taken out of the credit amount included with the plan. In addition, all ‘yes’ Cap Plans include voicemail, free 20 minutes calls to other Optus GSM mobiles in Australia from 8pm to midnight 7 nights a week, and free 5 minute calls to numbers on the same account.
Google has released a new web-based version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. Google Talk for iPhone requires the application to be open in the Safari browser in order to receive instant messages. When a user navigates away to another browser window or application, his/her status is automatically changed to “unavailable,” and the session will be restarted when the page is reopened. To access Google Talk for iPhone and iPod touch, simply navigate to google.com/talk from the device.
Following a posting yesterday expressing confusion and disappointment over AT&T’s iPhone 3G plans and pricing, and its decision to charge separately for SMS text messaging, BusinessWeek writer Arik Hesseldahl was contacted by Apple regarding the article. Hesseldahl writes, “So Apple called today, a little annoyed with my portrayal yesterday of AT&T’s iPhone pricing.” Hesseldahl defends his position on the non-inclusion of SMS messaging, saying, “Is this a mistake on AT&Ts part? I certainly think so.” He goes on to suggest that the extra charges for messaging will lead to greater adoption of native and web-based instant messaging solutions, while noting that AT&T is not alone in its need to streamline its wireless pricing plans to make them easier to understand and more convenient for consumers.
According to a report, Samsung is warning its other customers that supply of NAND flash chips will be cut sharply in July thanks to an Apple order for 50 million 8Gb-equivalent chips, mostly for use in iPhones. DigiTimes reports that supply will also be affected due to capacity reductions made by Samsung in April and May in an attempt to reduce oversupply. Despite Apple’s large order, many industry insiders are still in doubt about its impact, noting that Apple already purchased 25 million 8Gb-equivalent NAND flash chips from Samsung in June, and stating that future Apple orders will depend largely on iPhone sales.
O2 will officially launch the iPhone 3G in the United Kingdom on July 11 at 7:00 a.m. local time, and has also imposed a sales limit of one-per-person on the new handset. “Orders will be placed on a first come first served basis,” O2 said in a text message to customers explaining the need for the sales limitation. “We will be writing to you again before the 11th with details about how you can place your order.”
Speaking at a press briefing to honor Intel’s 40th anniversary, Patrick Gelsinger, general manager of the company’s digital enterprise group, expressed disappointment over Apple’s decision to eschew Intel’s Atom platform in future phones and digital media devices in favor of custom chips designed in-house with the help of recently-acquired P.A. Semi. “Apple chose not to take that road map at their next generation of platform,” said Gelsinger. “That was disappointing.” In June Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed in an interview that P.A. Semi would build chips for both the iPhone and iPod, putting to rest speculation over why Apple acquired the chipmaker. Earlier reports, including one based on a quote from an Intel executive, had suggested that Apple planned to use an Atom processor inside an as-yet-unreleased deluxe iPhone.
T-Mobile has announced its pricing and service plans (Translated link) for the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands. The carrier is offering three different iPhone monthly plans, all including unlimited data, unlimited use of T-Mobile hotspots, and Visual Voicemail, and will price the iPhone 3G based on which monthly plan the customer chooses for his/her two-year commitment. The €29.95 (~$47) a month plan includes 150 airtime minutes, 150 SMS messages, and brings the iPhone 3G’s pricing to €79.95 (~$126) for the 8GB model and €159.99 (~$253) for the 16GB model. With the €44.95 (~$71) plan, which includes 300 minutes and 300 SMS texts, the 8GB iPhone sells for €1 (~$1.60), while the 16GB model goes for €79.95. Finally, the €64.95 (~$103) a month plan includes 500 minutes and 500 texts. With that plan, the 8GB model sells for €1, while the 16GB iPhone 3G costs only €19.95 (~$32). Extra minutes or texts are priced at €0.25 (~$0.40) per, no matter which of the three plans a customer chooses. T-Mobile will launch the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands on July 11.
AT&T has announced its AT&T Nation and AT&T FamilyTalk plans for iPhone 3G. Its AT&T Nation plans, meant for individual users, range in price from $69.99 to $129.99 a month, and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. The $69.99 a month plan includes 450 anytime minutes, 5000 night & weekend minutes, and any overages will cost $0.45 per minute. With the $89.99 a month plan, users receive 900 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an overage rate of $0.40 per minute, while the $109.99 a month plan provides 1350 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an additional minute charge of $0.35 per minute. Finally, AT&T is offering an Unlimited individual iPhone 3G plan for $129.99 a month, which provides unlimited minutes in addition to the unlimited data and Visual Voicemail mentioned above.
AT&T’s FamilyTalk iPhone plans cover two lines and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, and unlimited nights & weekends. The $129.99 a month plan provides 700 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.45, the $149.99 plan offers 1400 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.40, while the $169.99 plan offers 2100 shared anytime minutes and an addition minutes rate of $0.35. Plans are also available at $209.99, $259.99, and $359.99 points, and include 3000, 4000, and 6000 shared anytime minutes, respectively. Each additional line added to any of the above FamilyTalk plans runs an additional $39.99 per month. An Unlimited FamilyTalk plan will be available for $259.99 a month for two lines, with each additional line costing $129.99 a month.
In a notable change from AT&T’s prior plans, SMS Text messaging is now always sold at an additional charge, and will cost individuals $5 per month for 200 messages, $15 per month for 1500 messages, or $20 per month for Unlimited. For FamilyTalk plans, SMS can be added for $30 per month for unlimited texts, or for $0.20 per message.
For those of our readers who don’t have access to video playback, or just want a fast summary of all of the iPhone 3G’s new features, we have created this: a summary of the freshly posted iPhone 3G See What’s New video, complete with images. Inside, you can learn about the iPhone 3G’s “dramatically improved audio,” the system’s GPS “Tracking Mode,” the collection of Restrictions, and much more.
While the video doesn’t reveal many secrets, you may find the complete feature list interesting. Click on the title or comments bar below for the full scoop, and see our iPhone 3G First Look for many additional details.
Apple has posted two guided video tours of the iPhone 3G. As with the company’s previous guided video tours, the iPhone 3G guided tours walk users through the various features of the new iPhone. The main Guided Tour video covers the phone’s features from the standpoint of a new iPhone user, including basic features and functions that will be familiar to current iPhone users. In addition, Apple has posted a “What’s New” Guided Tour, meant for those already familiar with the iPhone’s functionality. It covers 3G, a-GPS, and the iPhone 2.0 software. Both videos are currently available for viewing and download from Apple’s iPhone website.
AT&T has revealed details regarding its pricing policy for the iPhone 3G in the United States. As previously announced, the 8GB model will cost $199 and the 16GB model will sell for $299, and will be available at those prices to customers who bought the iPhone before July 11, who are activating a new line with AT&T and/or who are eligible for an upgrade discount. For customers who aren’t eligible for the upgrade discount and who agree to a new two-year service plan, the 8GB model will sell for $399 and the 16GB model for $499 — identical to Apple’s unsubsidized pricing on the first-generation iPhone. AT&T will also offer the iPhone 3G on a no-contract-required basis, with the 8GB model priced at $599 and the 16GB at $699. In addition to the handset charge, current AT&T customers who are upgrading to iPhone 3G will pay an $18 upgrade fee and new AT&T customers will pay the standard $36 activation fee. The iPhone 3G will go on sale at 8 a.m. local time, July 11.
Swisscom has announced its service plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G in Switzerland. As in many other countries, Swisscom’s pricing for the handset is tiered based on which plan the customer chooses for his/her 24-month contract. Unlike most other countries, however, airtime minutes are charged at a pre-determined hourly rate, instead of in bulk by the month. With the CHF 25 (~$25) NATEL liberty piccolo monthly plan, users get 100 MB of data a month and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.70 (~$0.70). The 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for CHF 249 (~$244) with the CHF 25 monthly plan, while the 16GB model will run CHF 349 (~$342). With the CHF 35 (~$34) NATEL liberty mezzo monthly plan, users are provided with 250 MB of data and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.50 (~$0.50); the 8GB iPhone 3G is sold for CHF 199 (~$195) and the 16GB model for CHF 299 (~$293). The NATEL liberty grande plan, which runs CHF 55 (~$54) a month, provides 1,000 MB of data and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.50 (~$0.50), bringing the price of the iPhone down to CHF 99 (~$97) for the 8GB model and CHF 199 (~$195) for the 16GB model. All subscription plans also include Visual Voicemail and free access to over 1,100 hotspots across Switzerland. Finally, Swisscom will also offer the iPhone 3G on a prepaid basis (NATEL easy liberty uno), with the 8GB model selling for CHF 519 (~$509), the 16GB for CHF 619 (~$607). The prepaid hourly call rate will be CHF 0.80 (~$0.80), with a flat data rate of CHF 1 ($0.98) per megabyte of data. Swisscom will launch the iPhone 3G in Switzerland on July 11. [via setteB.IT]
An internal AT&T memo obtained by AppleInsider, and a similar internal Rogers memo posted on a Canadian iPhone forum, describe a special version of iTunes that will be used for the in-store “unbricking” process required to let customers use the iPhone 3G. The AT&T memo shows an icon for “iTunes (Activation Only Mode),” noting that “[t]his icon is for the itunes utility that will be used for unbricking iPhone 3G devices during the activation process.” It goes on to note that the icon will be needed for the iPhone 3G launch on July 11, and that it is “not a full version of iTunes and is for use in activations ONLY.” The Rogers memo defines the unbricking process as “enabling the phone for services,” and reveals that the “Activation Only” version of iTunes is labeled as 7.6.3b4. Interestingly, a download link is provided in the leaked memo, but the page specifies that the maximum number of downloads has been reached.
In the wake of last week’s announcement by Rogers Communications of Canadian iPhone service plans, a grass roots petition campaign has been launched to protest both data limits on the plans and their associated pricing. User James Hallen initially created an anti-Rogers website with a profane URL, later re-directing traffic to an updated site called ruinediphone.com, claiming that the Canadian iPhone carrier’s rates on its iPhone service plans are unfair, especially when compared with those of U.S. carrier AT&T. Hallen notes that he “was going to buy an iPhone for me, my girlfriend and my family,” but now, “sadly, I cannot afford the plan.” To date, the website’s petition has received 16,874 signatures, and will continue to collect supporters’ signatures until July 11, at which point the founders of the website will send a printed copy of all the signatures and accompanying messages to Rogers’ headquarters in order to “demonstrate our indignation toward them,” and in hopes of forcing the carrier to rethink its iPhone plans and rates.
Update: Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber points out Rogers’ early cancellation policy: “An Early Cancellation Fee (EECF) applies if, for any reason, your service is terminated prior to the end of the service agreement. The ECF is the greater of (ii) $1100 or (iii) $220 per month remaining in the service agreement, to a maximum of 400 (plus applicable taxes), and applies on each line in the plan that is terminated.”
Telstra has announced that it will become the third carrier to offer the iPhone 3G in Australia, alongside Optus and Vodafone. According to the announcement, Telstra will begin offering the iPhone July 11 with a range of specifically appointed Next G iPhone 3G plans. Plans will start at $A30 (~$29) per month with an upfront cost of $A279 (~$269) for the 8GB model and $A399 (~$384) for the 16GB model. Customers will receive the 8GB iPhone 3G model at no cost with the $A80 (~$77) plan and either the 8GB or the 16GB model at no cost with plans starting at $A100 (~$96) per month. All plans include free Wi-Fi access at Telstra hotspots and require a 24-month contract. Telstra has previously threatened legal action over what it considered to be potentially misleading claims made by competing network Optus regarding its iPhone 3G service.
“Australians are very excited about iPhone 3G and we’re delighted to bring this product to them on Telstra’s high-speed Next G network,” said David Moffatt, Telstra’s consumer group managing director. “With iPhone 3G on the country’s largest and fastest 3G network, providing coverage to 99 percent of the population, more Australians will enjoy the iPhone 3G experience in even more places.”
“We’re thrilled to work with Telstra to bring iPhone 3G to Australia’s largest 3G network,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “iPhone 3G is an amazing product and we think Telstra’s over 9 million mobile customers will love it as much as we do.”
Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong has revealed its pricing and service plans for the iPhone 3G in Hong Kong. Following precedents set in various other countries, Hutchison will offer tiered pricing on the iPhone 3G, based on which of the four iPhone Tariff Plans the customer chooses for his or her 24-month agreement. With the HK$498 (roughly $64) plan, which includes unlimited data and 2,200 basic minutes, the 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for HK$0, while the 16GB model will run HK$138 (~$18). The 8GB iPhone 3G will run HK$938 (~$120) with the HK$328 (~$42) tariff, which includes 500MB of data and 1,500 minutes, while the 16GB model will cost HK$1,738 (~$223). With the HK$268 (~$34) plan, which offers 500MB of data and 800 minutes, the 8GB model will cost HK$1,738, while the 16GB model will cost HK$2,538 (~$325). The 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for HK$2,938 (~$377), and the 16GB model for HK$3,738 (~$479) with the most affordable, HK$188 (~$24) tariff, which offers 500MB of data and 500 basic minutes. All four plans include unlimited on-network SMS messaging, as well as a limited number of credits good toward access to 3-provided multimedia and text-based content.
Hutchison will begin taking pre-registrations for the iPhone 3G on July 1, and will kick off iPhone 3G sales in Hong Kong with an “iPhone 3G First Day Sales Gala,” with attendees randomly selected from pre-registered customers. “iPhone 3G will herald a leap in mobile data consumption. Customers will love using the revolutionary iPhone 3G to explore the mobile Internet and exchange information while on the move. We foresee that the new generation customers will no longer go after call plans with excessive call minutes; rather they will look for price plans that offer them complete ease of mind when consuming mobile data. We are enabling customers to fully embrace the mobile Internet world by redefining mobile tariffs with four data-centric price plans that are ideal for mobile data consumption,” said Amy Lung, Chief Operating Officer, Mobile, Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has referred to the press’ suggestion that Apple’s iPhone 3G handset will see widespread success a “conspiracy.” Seidenberg described Apple as a “great company,” while pointing out its currently small share of global handset sales, and scoffing at the suggestion that the iPhone 3G’s lower subsidized pricing will help it gain mass-market acceptance. “There goes the conspiracy again,” he said. “You’re declaring them a winner before they’ve earned it on the field.” He also said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has no monopoly on innovation, while describing how advanced mobile handsets could cause problems for other companies’ business models. “It’s very cool. And Steve Jobs eventually will get old . . . I like our chances.” Verizon recently announced a deal to buy Alltel for $28.1 billion, a move that will make it the largest US mobile company with more than 80 million customers. Seidenberg’s comments follow an incident in which a radio DJ staged a smashing of his iPhone, only to receive a call from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse moments later, who said “that was music to my ears.” The DJ’s destruction of the iPhone allegedly was “bought” by Sprint to promote a competing phone.
Norwegian iPhone carrier NetCom has revealed its pricing and service plans for the iPhone 3G. Three different “iTalk” plans — Small, Medium, and Large — will be offered for the iPhone 3G, with the price of the handset varying based on the accompanying plan. The Small plan is priced at 399 NOK (~$79) and includes 100 voice minutes, 100 SMS messages, and 100 MB of data. When purchased with the Small plan, the 8GB iPhone 3G will cost 1390 NOK (~$275), while the 16 GB model will run 2290 NOK (~$452). The Medium plan provides 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 250MB of data for 699 NOK (~$138), and brings the cost of the 8GB iPhone 3G down to 690 NOK (~$136), while the 16 GB model runs 1590 NOK (~$314) with the plan. Finally, the Large plan runs 1099 NOK (~$217) a month and includes 1000 minutes, 1000 SMS, and 1000 MB of data. The 8GB iPhone costs only 1 NOK when purchased with the Large plan; users may upgrade to the 16GB model for 890 NOK (~$176). The iPhone 3G will launch in Norway on July 11.