iPhone 1.1.2 / UK O2 Details

the wait is almost over: iphone nov 9

Details of the iPhone's launch in the UK is spilling out rapidly, and O2 are making some last changes in preparation for iPhone's arrival. Their CEO granted an interview that gives a peek into Apple's carrier selection process. O2 has changed the way that they deal with limited "unlimited" plans -- they still limit them, but at least they will give users a warning before they punt people away. And lastly, UK gadget magazine tried out the iPhone for a while, and they have information about the 1.1.2, the upcoming firmware update and iTunes 7.5.

O2 CEO Interview

Matthew Key O2

O2 CEO Matthew Key granted an interview to the Telegraph in which he doles out information and money quotes like candy at a parade. He recounts his journey to Apple's HQ in Cupertino to offer O2 as the UK carrier for the iPhone.

"[Jobs] clearly knows his stuff in a level of detail that for someone at that level is mindblowing, and he has a great incisiveness in terms of what the customer wants and needs in products"

"I played with it for two minutes and just thought, 'oh my God, this is leagues above anything I've ever seen before'"
This is pretty straight talk coming from a CEO. One could say it's PR from someone who's shilling the iPhone... but one would have to concede that he's saying everything else that he sells is left in the dust.

There have been a few folks around that claim that partnering with Apple on the iPhone is like a deal with the devil, that the carriers don't make any money selling it. Key, formerly the CFO of O2, has a few choice words to say about that:

"When we left two hours later, I said to Cesar, 'that's a device I've got to offer. In the UK market, where the top four networks have pretty much equal shares, it offers a great way for me to get a hell of a lot of high-value customers on to O2 and drive up data usage"

"For me to sign a – whatever it is –'madly money-losing deal', well, it's almost a slight on my professional integrity, isn't it? Why would I do that?"

Limited Unlimited Plans

Anti-Infinity

There's always some hubbub about the limited "unlimited" plans that carriers are so fond of implementing. O2's "unlimited" data program topped out at 200MB, and sometimes half that. If an ordinary person, aka "punter," was to download more data than that in a month on their UK iPhone, O2 would punt the punter -- they'd cancel his or her service. That language has been removed, and they now promise to send a stern letter warning of cancellation, allowing the punter to change habits and preserving the contract.

In a separate Telegraph article, aforementioned O2 CEO Matthew Key finds the key irony in a limited "unlimited" plan:

"Customers find 'unlimited with limits' confusing, plus most people don't speak in megabits or understand what they equate to."

UK iPhone Review

T3Masthead 123

And meanwhile, pre-eminent gadget trade rag T3 got some hands on with iPhone firmware 1.1.2, a long expected sequel to the 1.1.1 firmware we currently enjoy. The new firmware closes the TIFF exploit, so if you were planning on jailbreaking your iPhone the easy way (jailbreakme.com), you'll probably want to hold off on applying this update. Also present in the 1.1.2 firmware is vastly upgraded language support for dozens of languages. There's all sorts of detail available in their official review. There are some gobsmacker quotes in their review too:

"Twelve months of tick-inducing anticipation had, in an ephemeral moment, just been exchanged for internal squeals and loud snorts."

"Oh, how we wanted to post picture proof last week but would have run the risk of Steve Jobs personally removing our knackers."

"Finally, a gizmo to properly rival the well-heeled crackberry."

"new version of iTunes (we were given 7.5 d15) supports Ringtones as well as iCal and the Address Book."
Theirs is a very good review, and not far from what you may have read elsewhere: mostly ahead of all of the competition everywhere, except for where it isn't, and it drives them mad. They warn users that it may not replace their "existing pocket rocket" even though they say "it's the best piece of kit we've seen all year."
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iPhone 1.1.2 / UK O2 Details

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There's always some hubbub about the limited "unlimited" plans that carriers are so fond of implementing. O2's "unlimited" data program topped out at 200MB, and sometimes half that. If an ordinary person, aka "punter," was to download more data than that in a month on their UK iPhone, O2 would punt the punter -- they'd cancel his or her service. That language has been removed, and they now promise to send a stern letter warning of cancellation, allowing the punter to change habits and preserving the contract.
In a separate Telegraph article, aforementioned O2 CEO Matthew Key finds the key irony in a limited "unlimited" plan:
"Customers find 'unlimited with limits' confusing, plus most people don't speak in megabits or understand what they equate to."
It seems to me the relevant bit of that article is the next bit (emphasised below):
"Customers find 'unlimited with limits' confusing, plus most people don't speak in megabits or understand what they equate to," said O2 UK chief executive Matthew Key.
''So we've taken the decision to remove the fair usage cap so that 'unlimited' really does mean 'unlimited' – this is a market first."http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/11/03/cniphone103.xml
It goes on to say:
Data accessed must be for personal, not commercial, use and the phone must not be used as a modem.
and this is born out by the O2 web site:
Your O2 tariff for iPhone allows you unlimited use of O2 UK’s Edge / GPRS networks and The Cloud’s UK Wireless LAN network, for personal internet use, email and Visual Voicemail (VVM) on your iPhone only. All usage must be for your private, personal and non-commercial purposes.
You may not use your SIM Card in any other device, or use your SIM Card or iPhone to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable P2P or file sharing or use them in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other O2 customers.
If O2 reasonably suspect you are not acting in accordance with this policy O2 reserves the right to impose further charges or disconnect your tariff at any time, having attempted to contact you first.http://www.02.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/iphone/iPhone-FAQs.html
So it's 'unlimited' in the sense that you can use as many MB as you like as long as it's not streaming or P2P or (this is the slightly tricky one) adversely affecting O2 service or other customers.
AFAIK, the iPhone will be the only phone in the UK for which there's no stated MB cap (the 200 MB limit still seems to apply to other O2 phones and all other networks have caps). This talk of 'adverse effects' does give me a little pause for thought, and I wonder if in practice they'll be looking at accounts where downloads exceed a certain threshold, but basically I think this is a damn fine thing. Given Matthew Key's very public commitment it would be extraordinarily surprising if anything but the most extreme usage were to fall foul of the 'adverse effect' caveat.
Roll on Friday :)

I agree that it's excellent news -- I won't be fully happy until my wireless data is as unencumbered as my home broadband data, and they'll almost certainly have a quota internally, but it's a fine step in the right direction.
Are you thinking you'll be picking one up on Friday?

Thinking is already done :) I have a PAC from T-Mobile, the credit card is primed for action and barring major misfortune I'll be at an O2 or CPW shop at 6.02 (the time's a bad joke on somebody's part).
It's truly remarkable the mind share the iPhone has achieved in the UK - people who I'd have thought have little or no interest in tech have not only heard of it but know a fair bit about it. I just hope the queues aren't too long and there's plenty to go round!

If the launch is anything like it was in the U.S., they'll have plenty to go around. I read about a lot of folks having success in going to the Apple stores a day later, on Saturday. And a lot of folks just showed up late and didn't have to wait as long as us line-waiters.
My advice is to not wait in line, unless you're billing for it ;P