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."