Following today’s announcement that T-Mobile will be the exclusive German vendor of Apple’s iPhone, starting on November 9 at a price of 399 Euros, iLounge spoke with Christian Hieber, editor of leading German iPod and iPhone site iFun.de, to get a domestic take on the announcement.
iLounge: So the announcement of iPhone availability in Germany was made today. What do you think of the price?
Hieber: The price was no big surprise for us. On first look, most people tend to call it overpriced, but regarding the features and comfort—especially the fact that it is your iPod and phone in one—it’s acceptable for most people. My personal opinion: it’s a good deal. I’ve used an U.S. iPhone for a few weeks now and the fact that I have my iPod, mail, phone and the other stuff all together in my pocket is great.
iLounge: How do you think the iPhone features (EDGE/8GB) will satisfy your needs?
Hieber: It should. I actually use GPRS, and it’s still okay to check mails or look up a street in Google Maps. EDGE should be more than twice as fast, as far as I know, so it will work. Let’s see if T-Mobile makes their 20,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots available for iPhone customers; that would be a really good deal. T-Mobile has 90% EDGE coverage in Germany and 20.000 Wi-Fi hotspots. Every Starbucks here has a T-Mobile hotspot too, but nothing was said on Starbucks special services yet.
iLounge: What’s happening with T-Mobile’s iPhone service plans? What do your readers, and the mainstream German press, think of these details?
Hieber: They didn’t announce the plans yet. They will give details shortly before the sales start on the 9th of November. Everything depends on the service plans. People are waiting for the exact rates to decide what they do.
On the media coverage, I can’t say much today. There was lots of interest at the event, but everyone missed the details about the plans. Besides that, you can expect that every German newspaper will report on the event; most news shows did so this evening.
iLounge: What do you think of the release date?
Hieber: We expected it a bit earlier, but it’s still in time for Christmas shoppers!
iLounge: Do you think iPhone will succeed in Germany? If so, or if not, why?
Hieber: It’s confusing for our readers that the iPhone will not even be available at the Apple Online Store; it’s only from T-Mobile. We don’t expect that there will be fast contract switchers here, like you have seen in the States, but if you give people more time to see the product and get out of their other contracts in a regular way, it should succeed. Additionally, Apple’s starting in Germany with three TV spots. They all have been localized using German newspapers for the examples in Safari, and the famous German band “Wir sind Helden” for the iPod demo.
iLounge: Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective, Christian.