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Metaliveblogging Apple's "Mum is no longer the word" event

Nik Fletcher

Good morning, dear TUAW readers. London calling. It's Tuesday morning, and that can only mean one thing. We've been getting tonnes of tips that the Apple Store is down. The Apple store is still online, although tipster Gary tipped us off that the O2 store - the very same network rumoured to be the sole carrier of the iPhone here in the U.K. is in fact offline. Yes, that's right - iDay / iPhone Day / totally iPhone-unrelated announcement day is upon us, so sit back and enjoy the show. If you're short of reading material before the event, we'd recommend you check out this article in yesterday's Guardian about the deals rumoured to have been struck to bring the iPhone to our fair isle and beyond.

  • iPhone coming to the U.K. November 9th
  • Will cost £269 and be available from Apple Retail stores and the Carphone Warehouse. 8GB model, EDGE not 3G (so the same model as the US). iTunes WiFi Music Store will of course come with the iPhone.
  • O2 is the exclusive carrier
  • Contracts cost £35, £45 or £55 a month and include unlimited (within fair-use) WiFi at The Cloud hotspots and EDGE & GPRS on O2. For more details there's a shiny new O2 page here.
If you want to read the live text transcript, click the link below.

As it happened (in reverse chronological order)

That's your lot folks - Steve has left the stage. Quite why the Regent Street Store is closed until 4pm this afternoon remains to be seen.

O2 will be rolling out unlimited-data contracts to existing customers starting 1st October.

Q: £900 for 18 months on up to £1260. Any assurance you won't slash the price by 1/3rd? (Laughter.) Steve: "I don't think that's going to happen. But this is technology so you never know. We have no plans to change the pricing, but we guarantee it will change in the future just like all technology products. We're working on the next iPhone and the next one after that. That's what our customers expect."

As some thought, it's only a UK-specific announcement today. Nothing to say about other European countries.

Q: What are your plans for iPhone launch in Europe, and your reaction to upsetting other carriers who feel played-off in terms of not getting this deal?

Steve: "We said we'd be in a few countries in Europe and we still plan to do that. As to the carriers, we took the approach to see who would be the best fit -- it's like going out on a few dates before getting married. So yeah, we have a few upset girlfriends out there." Laughter.

iPhone promotional pages show that the £35 contract includes 200 SMS messages, whilst the other £45 and £55 include 500 SMS messages per month.

O2 is back online, with a new iPhone promotional page - Thanks Gary!

Question about 'Rip-off Britain': £269 is more expensive that US.

Steve's reply: US price doesn't include Sales Tax, while UK does - VAT. "It's more expensive to do business here".

(This one is too good to NOT quote directly - Engadget) Q: Were you aware that the iPod touch was coming out when you were negotiating the iPhone deal? Matthew: "One of the great things about working with Apple is they are always moving forward." Yes, and one of the great things about O2 is how [they] dodge questions.
Steve: "Well, one's a phone, and one's not. The iPod touch is training wheels for the iPhone." Ha! Oh boy, that's rich.

Only 30% EDGE coverage? Thank goodness there's free WiFi too....

"Matthew, what do you have to do to get your network ready for the iPhone?"

"We're investing in EDGE. As many people have noticed, hey I have EDGE! By launch we'll be north of 30% and build from there."

Revenue sharing was reported to be the biggest sticking topic in negotiations. When asked "What's the revenue sharing from data and device sales between Apple and O2?" Steve replies "Unfortunately, we're not going to go into that, but good question!" Laughter. "...Sometimes you get what you pay for."

(Macformat) Contract length is 18 months, and as with all other providers, unlimited data is 'within a fair use policy'. Engadget reports it as "There is a limit: 1,400 internet pages per day would break the deal as part of fair usage agreement."

As with the US launch, activation and choosing a tariff are done within iTunes

When asked about whether the deal with Starbucks is coming to the UK, Steve smiles and says "You'll have to ask Starbucks about that. They love the UK."

(Engadget) Q: 7,000 hotspots in the UK... but are they free?

Matthew: "Cloud is the WiFi provider, and yes, it's free." Steve goes on to again tout the advantages of WiFi. Matthew nodding head vigorously, "It's a lot faster."

Engadget asks "Why no 3G?"
Steve: "The 3G chipsets are real power hogs. Handset battery life cuts power to 2-3 hours." Yeah yeah, we've heard it before. "Our phone has a talk time of 8 hours and that's really important when you want to use your phone for internet and music. 3G needs to get back up to 5+ hours, something we think well see later next year."

Number porting from other carriers is (surprise surprise) welcome, and there's 1,000 support agents to support the iPhone. "We've created an agreement for 7,500 WiFi spots in the UK" - now that IS interesting. Steve returns to the stage for a Q&A.

Unlimited EDGE & GPRS data and visual voicemail on all the plans...... priced at £35, £45 and £55.

O2 are going via The Carphone Warehouse to launch the device.

£269 seems fair to me - but how much is O2 going to sting us for? C'mon Matthew!

(Engadget) Steve has brought in the CEO of O2, Matthew Key, to big-up the device "I've seen hundreds of devices every year, and within a few minutes of playing with the iPhone I knew it was a breakthrough product."

Available November 9 - ads are the same as the US ones, just with a British voiceover (the Guardian taking the place of the New York Times). How on earth are we going to survive for the next seven weeks?!

1007 (Engadget) "We've since lowered the price of the US phone of the 8GB phone, in the UK the price of the iPhone is £269 including VAT." So the same price as the 16Gb iPod Touch, as predicted.

1006 The Apple Store is offline

1004 (Engadget) The iPhone has been announced for the UK. Carrier? "We picked the best one, the most poplular carrier, it's O2.""

1000 (Slashgear) KT Tunstall Music is playing

0959 (Engadget) "Feels a bit surreal having an Apple press event in an Apple retail space: black shirted Apple mafia are everywhere."

0955 Just five minutes to go, multiple sources are reporting El Jobso is indeed in London.

0942 (Engadget) Phil Schiller is in the house, talking to staff at the recently modified Regent St store theatre.

0923 (Engadget) Strange packages reportedly entering the store in the build-up to the event.

0917 (Engadget) The iPhone product manager, the star of numerous iPhone tutorial videos, is snapped at the store.

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