Leading up to the first-generation iPhone release last June, Apple launched an aggressive advertising campaign that was hard for anyone to miss. Attractive, feature-specific TV ads for the handset seeemed to run during every popular program, and Apple found ways to get the device into periodicals of all sorts. It may not have sold a million units in its first month on the market, but the iPhone name was everywhere.
This year, Apple and its carrier partners face a much bigger challenge with the iPhone 3G: drumming up hype and spreading product awareness across not one but 22 countries, all at the same time. While iLounge readers in the United States are fairly familiar with the product already, a number of advertisements have popped up all over the globe in preparation for the initial iPhone 3G launch on July 11. We’ve included some photos of these ads below. (Mexico City photo courtesy of flickr user alenm8816.)
Details of the iPhone’s Japanese keyboard, due to appear in iPhone Software v2.0, have been posted online. According to a TokyoMango posting accompanying the video, users will be able to choose between a QWERTY-style keyboard and a Japanese cell phone-style keyboard, and may then pick from a multi-tap style kana keyboard or a sliding keyboard. According to the post, “Japanese kana letters are organized in groups of five according to a beginning letter and corresponding vowels (a i u e o), so you can either put in the first letter and then hit the same key between 1-5 times to get the right sound (multi-tap), or you can put the first letter in and then tap and slide through to see all five sounds and pick the right one.” Continue reading to view a video claiming to show off the new keyboard in action. [via TUAW]
France Telecom’s Orange unit will sell the upcoming iPhone 3G in France from €149, beginning July 17, the company announced today. As the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in France, Orange said the 8GB iPhone 3G will be sold at €149 with Orange for iPhone, Origami Star (from 3 hours), First, and Jet plans, while the 16GB model will be sold for €199, with the same plans. With other plans (excluding time-cutoff and pay-as-you-go), the 8GB model will run €199 and the 16GB for €249, and the phones will also be offered at those prices through the Orange loyalty upgrade program. In addition, current iPhone owners who purchased their phone before June 12 and are using it with a qualifying Orange plan will be able to buy the 8GB iPhone 3G for €99 through a €100 rebate valid until October 31, as part of the “Change your mobile” program, subject to a 24-month contract. Orange also revealed (PDF link) that there is a fair usage limit on iPhone 3G data of 500MB per month, with current average iPhone data usage at 100MB per month, and noted that over 66% of the French population is covered by its 3G service.
Telefónica SA has received 300,000 pre-registrations to purchase the iPhone 3G in the United Kingdom and Spain, according to a CNNMoney report. A Telefónica spokesperson said customers have been reserving units of the iPhone 3G through the company’s website since it announced it would sell the device earlier this month. Telefónica is the parent company of O2, and operates under the Movistar brand in Spain. It will begin selling the iPhone 3G in Spain, the U.K., and Ireland on July 11, and will offer the handset in the Czech Republic and in twelve Latin American countries later this year.
O2 has posted its iPhone 3G pricing for Pay & Go customers in the United Kingdom. The 8GB iPhone 3G will be available without a monthly contract for £299.99 (around $590), while the 16GB model will run £359.99 (around $708). Both models will include 6 months of unlimited browsing and Wi-Fi, benefits that will cost pay-as-you-go customers £10 per month afterwards. [via Mac Rumors]
Telecom Italia Mobile has announced that it will offer the 8GB iPhone 3G for free with certain subscription packages depending on the tariff plan chosen, while a separate report states that Vodafone is expected to offer similar discounts. In an official press release, TIM said that the initial price of the 8GB iPhone will range from zero to 199 euros, depending on the plan chosen, and that all offers include at least 1GB of data throughput per month. Meanwhile, Macity reports (Translated link) that Vodafone will offer the iPhone 3G at a cost between zero and 199 euros depending both on the model and plan chosen. These discounts mirror earlier announcements from O2 in the United Kingdom and T-Mobile in Germany, which will offer the iPhone 3G for free or for one euro, respectively, with a high-level monthly tariff. Citing anonymous sources, the Macity report goes on to state that Vodafone’s subscription plans will range from 19 euros to 89 euros per month, and that the carrier may not begin offering subscription plans on the iPhone 3G until July 21. TIM and Vodafone had previously announced that they will sell the iPhone 3G unsubsidized for 499 euros (8GB) and 569 euros (16GB).
Curious about the relative sizes, shapes, and rear icon or text locations of the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G? We’ve added a comparison photo to our First Look at the iPhone 3G, showing how the phones compare. Differences in height, width, and text locations are apparent, as are sharp distinctions in texture, while similarities in camera and icon location are also shown. Click here for the full-sized new image and First Look!
Apple has reportedly signed a number of deals that will help ensure wide availability of the iPhone 3G. In Germany, Apple has reached a deal with computer reseller Gravis to sell the iPhone 3G with T-Mobile contracts through its chain of stores. The phones will also be available through T-Mobile shops. As Apple lacks its own retail store in Germany, the deal with Gravis will help widen distribution of the phone in the country. Apple runs only a single store in Italy, and has decided to allow local Apple Premium Resellers to offer the iPhone 3G through their stores, supplementing the sales of Vodafone and Telecom Italia, both of which will offer the handset. The company is expected to take a similar approach in the Netherlands, allowing Apple resellers to sell the iPhone. The Carphone Warehouse became the first third-party reseller of the iPhone when the device launched in the United Kingdom last November.
Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank has revealed pricing details for the handset. In a statement the company revealed that it will offer the 8GB iPhone 3G for 23,040 yen (around $215), while the 16GB model will be sold for 34,560 yen (around $322), subsidized. According to a Reuters report, the company expects the monthly charges for iPhone customers to be 7,280 yen (around $68), including unlimited data-transmission usage. The iPhone 3G will launch in Japan on July 11.
Apple and O2 are scrambling to ready Apple’s own retail stores in the United Kingdom for the launch of the iPhone 3G, according to a Mobile Today report. The report states that Apple’s retail stores are currently not set up to run the necessary credit checks needed for in-store activation, and that workers are unfamiliar with the process of signing customers up for subscription contracts. “We are currently working closely with Apple to enable them to issue contracts in store. Full details are still to be confirmed,” said an O2 spokeswoman. The spokeswoman went on to confirm that non-subsidized iPhone 3Gs, which will be sold to pay-as-you-go customers, will be available at full price from Apple’s stores, as well as O2 and Carphone Warehouse.
Both Telecom Italia Mobile and Vodafone have revealed their pricing on the iPhone 3G for pre-paid customers. The non-subsidized iPhone will be available through both carriers for 499 euro for the 8GB model (around $777) and 569 euro for the 16GB model (around $886). Unsubsidized pricing for the iPhone 3G remains uncertain in a number of regions, including the U.S., where certain AT&T customers may have to pay the higher price due to contract limitations. In addition, images that briefly appeared on TIM’s site indicate that plans will start at 30 euros per month, although no official announcement regarding service pricing has yet been made by either carrier.
Australian carrier Telstra is set to be announced as the country’s third iPhone 3G service provider, according to a new report. Citing people close to the company, Australian IT reports Telstra chief Sol Trujillo may make an announcement next week, and could launch the device as early as July 22. Sources also indicated that Telstra retail chief David Moffatt and a team of his senior executives were given a preview of the new flagship Apple retail store in Sydney last week. According to the report, previously announced carriers Optus and Vodafone have already seen heavy interest in the device. Vodafone’s pre-registration site has seen around 40,000 visitors a day since launching early last week, while Optus has been forced to stop accepting advance deposits on the phone, as demand is simply too high. “Due to an overwhelming response, we have removed the deposit-taking mechanism from [our] website,” said an Optus spokesperson. Telstra has yet to comment on the story.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley has raised its price target on Apple stock from $185 to $210, based on expectations of doubled iPhone sales in calendar year 2009. “We believe the market generally expects a doubling of iPhone units with the lower price point ($199) and we believe this is realistic, if not conservative,” the firm said in a note. It expects sales of 27 million iPhones in 2009, with an average revenue of $550 per unit. Finally, the bank said it believes that the mass market distribution and lower price of the iPhone 3G will drive revenue growth from software and services over time.
O2, the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the United Kingdom, has revealed that more than 130,000 potential customers have pre-registered their interest in the iPhone 3G since the product’s unveiling last week. Only 35,000 people pre-registered their interest in the previous iPhone between September 18 and November 9 of last year, suggesting that the inclusion of 3G cellular technology and a substantially lower price has helped spur interest in the new handset. Ronan Dunne, O2 UK chief executive, said the price of the original phone had been “an issue for some segments of the market,” while adding that iPhone customers were spending an average of 30% more a year on their mobile plans. [via AppleInsider]
Australian mobile operator Telstra has threatened legal action over rival Optus’s claims regarding iPhone functionality on its 3G network, citing alleged consumer confusion over 3G wireless spectrum distinctions. Telstra claims the iPhone 3G will be inoperable over Optus’ 900MHz 3G band, contrary to the company’s statement that customers will “enjoy 3G services as we expand our network to 96 per cent of the population by December 2008 and 98 per cent by December 2009.” In a letter to Optus, Telstra general counsel Jennifer Circhton said that the company will monitor Optus statements concerning the iPhone 3G and “will not hesitate” to take legal action if it feels Optus is misleading customers. “Telstra is concerned that Optus may represent to customers that they can enjoy a range of 3G features and services that will not be available if the 3G device is incompatible with Optus’ 3G 900MHz network,” Circhton said. “Telstra considers any such representation misleading or deceptive or likely in breach of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act.”
Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said that both Australian iPhone carriers, Vodafone and Optus, may face compatibility issues with the iPhone 3G. “Although Vodafone and Optus are expanding their 3G networks in the 900MHz frequency band, the iPhone 3G will not support these networks,” Burley said. “Coverage will be limited to existing 2100MHz 3G coverage - outside these areas GPRS data performance will leave users more than unsatisfied. The device does support Telstra’s Next G network but as yet, Telstra has not announced it will be offering the device.”
Having been sued by Klausner Technology over patents on “visual voicemail” technology, Apple and AT&T have reached a settlement and agreed to license the patents. “The patent litigation with Apple has been settled. The patents have been licensed to Apple,” said Klausner Technology founder Judah Klausner. In December Klausner Technologies took Apple and AT&T to court over the iPhone’s Visual Voicemail feature, claiming patent infringement and seeking $360 million in damages and future royalties. Financial details of the licensing agreement and settlement between the companies were not disclosed.
After several conflicting reports, iLounge has confirmed with AT&T that the iPhone 3G will not be universally available to all customers at the previously announced $199/$299 price points. According to Mark Siegel, Executive Director of Media Relations with AT&T Mobility, only “[c]urrent iPhone customers, new customers, and current non-iPhone AT&T wireless customers who are upgrade eligible will get the iPhone 3G at the $199/$299 price points.” This description omits “upgrade ineligible” AT&T customers, a category that is explained on an AT&T upgrade eligibility requirements web page. In short, AT&T customers who have had their current phones and plans for at least two years, customers who have had a plan costing between $68.99 and $98.99 for at least 21 months, and customers who have had a plan costing over $99 for at least 12 months are all eligible; those who do not meet one of these standards are ineligible and will have to pay a higher price. Additionally, following speculative reports that it might be possible for some customers to activate their iPhone 3Gs at home using iTunes, Siegel reiterated that activations will “take place in the store.”
Despite the current lack of a carrier agreement for Russia, The Moscow Times reports that comments made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggest that the iPhone 3G may still make its way to the country later this year. “We just didn’t have a chance to close [a deal] with Russia. And I think you’ll see [agreements] happen later this year,” Jobs said during an interview with CNBC last week. The report states that an estimated 300,000 first-generation iPhones are already in use in Russia. “About 20,000 iPhone handsets are brought into the country in suitcases every month,” Eldar Murtazin, editor of Moscow-based Mobile Research Group said. “The current model, which sells officially in six countries for a marked-up $399, currently sells for about $1,000 in Moscow.”
Russian carriers Mobile TeleSystems and MegaFon have confirmed that they held talks with Apple about the iPhone, but failed to reach an agreement. A separate report from Vedomosti suggested that the problem hinged on Apple’s insistance that the carriers buy the handsets wholesale, and that they pay Apple 10 percent on every iPhone sold, as well as 10 percent of the monthly revenue from iPhone subscribers. Yekaterina Osadchaya, spokeswoman for VimpelCom, the country’s second-largest operator, said that Apple’s new strategy of cheaper, subsidized phones and its abandonment of the revenue sharing business model would bring many Russian operators on board. “VimpelCom is looking at the possibility of holding talks with Apple about a distribution agreement for the iPhones,” Osadchaya said. “This is a very auspicious year for the handset in Russia because we are rolling out 3G technology in 20 cities this summer.”
T-Mobile has announced that it will offer the iPhone 3G in Germany for as little as one euro with a qualifying monthly contract, following the lead of O2 in the United Kingdom, which announced that it will offer the phone for free in a similar subsidy promotion. Customers purchasing an 8GB iPhone 3G with a 69 euro, 24-month contract from T-Mobile will pay only 1 euro for the phone, with the 16GB model starting at 19.95 euros with an 89 euro monthly plan and going up to 249.95 euros with a minimal 29 euro per month contract. Similarly, O2 customers will receive the 8GB iPhone 3G for free with a £45 or £75 18-month agreement, or can choose to pay £99 with a £35 or £30 tariff. The 16GB model will be offered for free with a £75 monthly plan, for £59 with a £45 tariff, and will run £159 when purchased on a £30 or £35 plan.
O2 has announced a deal with BT Openzone to expand the unlimited Wi-Fi package offered to all iPhone customers. Beginning July 11th, iPhone users will have access to more than 3,000 BT Openzone premier Wi-Fi hotspots as part of their monthly O2 tariff, for no extra cost. The addition of BT Openzone’s more than 3,000 hotspots to O2’s existing arrangement with The Cloud brings the total number of available public Wi-Fi hotspots for iPhone customers to over 9,000.
“By working with partners like BT Openzone we can maximise the web experience for iPhone customers,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK. “Public Wi-Fi hotspots ideally complement our mobile network, providing high speed web browsing and unlimited access to services like the iTunes Wi-Fi store in a wide variety of convenient locations.”
“The availability of BT Openzone on the iPhone 3G is in direct response to strong customer demand for a quality Wi-Fi service on their device. BT aims to keep customers best connected, any time and any place. With the iPhone set to become even more popular, BT is providing high-speed internet access at premier locations in the UK,” said Dave Hughes, director, BT Wireless Broadband.